The Coalition for Seniors’ and Nursing Homes Residents’ Rights recognizes that major gains have been made by the government on senior’s issues, but more is to be accomplished. Hours of bedside care, home support worker wages, benefits and working conditions are critically important.
The recent pilot project introduced by the Graham government appears as a stalling tactic for not implementing the 3.5 hours of bedside care as promised in the Charter for Change to nursing home residents.
If the government’s goal is to reduce the ratio of staffing to 15% registered nurses, 15% licensed practical nurses and 70% unregulated workers, this is a backward turn. Residents in these facilities have far greater needs than 20 years ago. These residents may be medically stable but require medical staff due to their condition.
The Premier promised the following in his campaign: “A Liberal Government would act quickly to increase the hours of care because it understands that, for nursing home residents, this will mean timely feeding assistance, the chance to enjoy more than one bath per week and improve access to exercise.”
Minimum staffing levels is needed as are strong monitoring and enforcement systems so that money goes to care and not to administration or profits. We cannot say that seniors are a big priority in the province with such a staff ratio reduction.
Cecile Cassista is the executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents’ Rights.