Strike Update: Home Care System, Hospitals Experiencing Chaos as CCAC Strike Continues: Contingency Plans Failing Patients

TORONTO, Feb. 9, 2015 /CNW/ - Ontario's home care system is descending into chaos as patient horror stories from across the province pile up.

As thousands of Community Care Access Centre health professionals continue to walk the picket lines in the second full week of the strike, ONA is hearing firsthand of patient horror stories that call into question the assurances of CCAC CEOs that all is well.

"Office assistants have been forced to approve patient IVs and medications – and use google to learn about the the medications," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Frail elderly patients being admitted to long-term care facilities without being appropriately assessed, risking their own health and safety and that of other residents, and hospitals are overwhelmed with patients who cannot be discharged because home care arrangements are not being made. We have also been told by patients in emergency departments that they are being advised that they will have to wait for a bed, even as CCAC CEOs continue to insist that service has not been affected."

CCAC senior managers who have not renewed their RN licenses are making care decisions that regulated health professionals, including RNs, would normally make. One of the LHINs has received more than 150 complaints from patients about their home care service coordination.

"In addition, some of our patients who would normally be sent home from hospital with wound care supplies are not receiving the supplies for home care workers to use or having a proper wound assessment done prior to hospital discharge," says Haslam-Stroud. "Patients are being told to travel to urgent care centres for IV antibiotics and other treatments, some are having to be readmitted to hospital because of mix-ups in care orders, and our patients are waiting in acute care beds for long-term care placements for extended times. This is totally unacceptable and completely unnecessary."

Haslam-Stroud continues to signal that ONA is happy to return to the bargaining table when the CCAC management is open to discussing wage increases. The CCAC Health Professionals are seeking a 1.4 per cent increase rather than a wage freeze in a new contract. The workers have been without a contract since March 31, 2014.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369, melaniel@ona.org; Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext.2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org

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http://www.ona.org

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