October 16th, 2020
October 16th, 2020
OTTAWA — Official Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath is promising to deliver better quality of care for Ottawa long-term care residents with her plan to overhaul the system – including offering every resident at least 4.1 hours of hands on care, every day.
“We have heard the heartbreaking stories of seniors neglected in long-term care homes, while underpaid, part-time and temporary personal support workers are run off their feet. The days of horrific bed sores, dehydration and malnourishment have to end,” said Horwath. “It doesn’t have to be this way — we can give staff the time they need to provide the kind of care they want to deliver.
“Imagine if careproviders always had time to listen, time to get to know the people they care for, and time to consistently and reliably provide the comforting basics, like help with a warm bath and getting into clean clothes. This plan gives them that.”
Last week, Horwath unveiled her plan – Aging Ontarians Deserve the Best – a comprehensive plan to overhaul home care and long-term care. In that plan, Horwath commits to enough staff in every care home and on every shift to guarantee a minimum standard of 4.1 hours of hands-on care per day per resident. The NDP has tried to make that a reality in Ontario with the Time to Care Act, which has been introduced by the NDP four times, but blocked by Liberal and Conservative governments every time.
Horwath will also make sure staff are better paid, full-time and permanent – giving residents comforting consistency and letting staff get to know them. Her plan includes a permanent $5-an-hour wage hike, ends the rampant use of temp agencies, and turns PSW jobs into full-time careers instead of part-time gigs.
“Liberal and Conservative governments have let greedy corporations take over more and more of the long-term care and home care system, and our loved ones have paid dearly for it,” said Horwath. “To pocket bigger profits, for-profit corporations keep cutting corners on care and staffing. They don’t have enough staff on shift to answer when mom or dad rings the call bell. They keep staff part-time and use the cheapest temp agencies they can find, and elders — including those with dementia — deal with a revolving door of unrecognizable faces rushing past them, with no time to stop.”
Horwath’s plan also brings back mandatory, annual comprehensive inspections and creates the position of a Seniors’ Advocate, ensuring care can never go back downhill.
Within eight years, Horwath will get all for-profit companies out of the sector, moving to a model of smaller, family-like public and non-profit homes.
“We’re going to move to a system that gives families more quality of life, instead of taking it away,” said Horwath. “It shouldn’t matter how much money is in your retirement fund — every Ontarian deserves the best care as they age, and their families should have peace of mind knowing they are receiving it.”
“I struggled for two years to help my brother and get him into long term care due to dementia. Three weeks after transferring from Ottawa Hospital to Carlingview Manor he tested positive for COVID-19.”
Currently the Ontario government directly budgets $4.6 billion for long-term care and another $3.2 billion for home care. An estimated $645 million is spent in community supports and it is estimated another $375 million is spent caring for seniors in hospital beds while they wait for home care or long-term care. That is a total of $9 billion dollars.
The NDP plan includes record investment into better care and better living. The total cost of the plan is $750 million per year in each of eight years for one-time capital investments; plus $3 billion in annual operations costs, which represents a 30 per cent increase to the $9 billion currently spent annually for home and long-term care, which will be phased in with annual increases over six years.
The NDP plan includes:
1. Overhauling home care to help people live at home longer
Ending the for-profit, understaffed patchwork of home care companies that make seniors wait and fail to address the inequities. This includes bringing the system into the public and non-profit sectors over eight years, as well as new provincial standards for home care services, and culturally-appropriate resources, training and job-matching.
2. Making all long-term care public and not-for-profit
Ending greedy profit-making at the expense of quality of care. Horwath is committing to phase out for-profit operators within eight years, and increasing financial reporting, transparency and accountability during the transition period.
3. Building small, modern, family-like homes
The gloom of being warehoused in institution-like facilities is over. An NDP government will immediately start building small nursing homes that actually feel like home. Based on best practices from around the world, the NDP will build smaller living spaces shared by groups of six to 10 people. In a small town, it could look like a typical family home. In bigger cities, it could look more like a neighbourhood of villas.
4. Staffing up with full-time, well-paid, well-trained caregivers
Instead of the revolving door of staff run off their feet, the NDP will give personal support workers a permanent wage boost of $5 an hour over their pre-pandemic wages. The NDP will mandate enough staff to guarantee at least 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day, establish a dedicated fund for training personal support workers, and more.
5. Making family caregivers partners
The NDP will treat loved ones like more than just visitors, including creating a provincial Caregiver Benefit Program and ensuring every home has an active family and resident council.
6. Creating culturally responsive, inclusive and affirming care
The NDP will make sure seniors feel at home, surrounded by their language and culture, and make sure 2SLGBTQIA+ seniors can always live with Pride. This includes partnering with communities, Indigenous nations and 2SLGBTQIA+ communities to fund community homes, and more.
7. Clearing the wait list
Clearing the 38,000-person wait list that can mean years waiting for a bed, and even longer for a culturally appropriate home. The NDP will create up to 50,000 spaces and eliminate the wait list within eight years.
8. Guaranteeing new and stronger protections
Comprehensive inspections, a Seniors’ Advocate, and more will ensure care never goes downhill again.