Royal Ottawa Place at Risk: Front-Line Nurses Concerned for Residents' Future



    TORONTO, Oct. 3 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) has learned
that the 96 residents of Royal Ottawa Place, a facility for mentally ill
residents of all ages with multiple diagnoses who require special care, are at
risk of being admitted to long-term care facilities as supplementary funding
of the facility has been stopped.
    "Royal Ottawa Place was built to accommodate the needs of mentally ill
residents with very special needs," notes ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud,
RN. "It was to have been funded separately from the formula used to fund
long-term care facilities, as residents' needs are very different than those
of seniors. However, it has never received the special funding, and its
operations have been supplemented by the Royal Ottawa Health Centre for years.
The board of Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, subject to the Ministry of
Health's accountability agreement forbidding budget deficits, has announced it
will no longer provide funding, putting these residents' future at risk."
    "Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre officials informed us just recently of
the decision to stop supplementing Royal Ottawa Place, to be confirmed by its
Board within weeks," notes ONA Local 74 bargaining unit president Sandra
Conrad, RN.
    "Long-term care facilities are not equipped to handle the needs of these
residents," notes Conrad, "and we had hoped that the Coroner's Inquest into
the Casa Verde nursing home tragedy would have taught everyone about the
potential for violence when residents with serious mental illnesses are not
appropriately accommodated."
    ONA is calling for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to revisit
the funding formula used for the Royal Ottawa Place to ensure it remains open
and functional. If these 96 mentally ill young residents to live in long-term
care facilities, these seniors will be at risk.

    ONA is the union representing 53,000 registered nurses and allied health
professionals working in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public
health, the community and industry.





For further information:

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association, Ruth Featherstone,
(416) 964-8833, ext. 2267


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