Stopping Long-Term Care Home Violence: Implement coroners' jury recommendations, says Ontario Nurses' Association

TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) says that violence in Ontario's long-term care facilities can be significantly reduced by implementing the recommendations from past coroners' inquests into the same issue.

"Two recent homicides in Ontario long-term care homes show the importance of implementing the recommendations from the 2005 Casa Verde coroners' inquest," said ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "For eight years now, ONA has been advocating for these recommendations to be acted upon, to ensure our frail elderly residents are safe."

ONA was granted standing at the Casa Verde inquest and presented evidence on the state of nursing in long-term care, including staff turnover, staffing, professional issues, training and violence in the workplace. ONA also provided recommendations to the jury to assist it in developing its own recommendations to improve the lives of residents. All 52 of ONA's recommendations are included in those made by the jury.

Among the most important are to appropriately staff these homes to allow for residents with cognitive abilities to be better managed, to monitor treatment plans, upgrade training of staff to ensure they have the knowledge, time and resources needed to assess and treat residents with cognitive impairments, and make immediate changes to the province's funding model for these facilities so they have the resources to properly staff them.

Haslam-Stroud said that while these recommendations will require funding, it's untenable that long-term care residents are continuing to be at risk when they're in these homes. ONA has been calling for a funded and regulated minimum standard of an average of four worked hours of care per resident/per day of nursing and personal care, including .78 worked hours a day of RN care per resident for those in Ontario long-term care facilities.

"The elderly deserve dignified, safe and respectful care," says Haslam-Stroud. "As front-line registered nurses, we have been calling for improvements in care for these vulnerable residents for more than a decade. Yet despite long-term care tragedies, registered nurse staffing levels have continued to drop, with very few exceptions, and our residents are not getting the quality care they deserve. We have met with officials who are aware of what needs to be done to protect these residents. A funded and regulated minimum staffing standard must include .78 worked hours a day of RN care per resident to ensure that our residents are provided with the care they require."

Haslam-Stroud calls on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to act now on mandating a minimum staffing standard of four hours of care per resident per day for long-term care facilities now.

"How to keep our residents safe is not a mystery," she said. "We already know the steps that need to be taken to ensure that these types of attacks don't happen, but they have yet to happen. We simply have to stop relying on hope and a prayer and implement the very thoughtful and appropriate recommendations that we have had for so long."

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 facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.

SOURCE: Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information:

Ontario Nurses' Association

Sheree Bond (416) 964-8833, ext. 2430/cell: (416) 986-8240,

Ruth Featherstone (416) 964-8833, ext. 2267, 

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