Caregivers appeal directly to Premier: "It's Time to Care" - Give seniors 3.5 hours of hands-on care

    TORONTO, Feb. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - Caregivers at two Ontario nursing homes
speaking at a Queen's Park media conference today, appealed directly to the
Premier to enact a minimum 3.5 hours of personal care for residents in
long-term care facilities.
    Despite repeated promises by Ontario's health minister that hands-on care
would be established months after new long-term care legislation passed
(Bill 140), the McGuinty government has failed to act.
    "I want to bring some humanity, joy and real care to residents. But we
are so understaffed that I have to rush through my tasks, rush through
feedings, rush through bathing and dressing. That's not the kind of care
seniors should be receiving," said Margaret Manning, a Personal Support Worker
(PSW) at Vermont Square in Toronto.
    Manning and Candace Rennick, a dietary aide from St. Joseph's at Fleming
in Peterborough, gave a first-hand account of the challenges faced by nursing
home staff trying to provide care to frail seniors under the current system,
with no minimum standard of care. "With so few staff, residents wait for hours
for breakfast, are put to bed too early at night, and many don't get enough
walking and exercise. All the while caregivers are run off their feet trying
to complete tasks," said Rennick.
    Study after study has shown that, without a staffing and care standard
set out in law, the quality of care plummets. Front line nursing home staff
report that residents are sitting in deplorable conditions. Incontinence
products are often kept under lock-and-key, and many homes are directing staff
to change residents only when the product is 75% soiled.
    OFL President Wayne Samuelson again called for positive action on the
issue of continence care policies and practices in long-term care homes.
Government inaction "demonstrates a complete lack of respect for the very
individuals that built our Province." Further he said, "the solution to the
issue requires regulating and enforcing minimum standards of staffing of
3.5 hours of care per resident per day. This will allow residents to receive
the continence care that they need."
    Just before the October 2007 election, health minister George Smitherman
said that legally binding minimum standards of care could be in place within
three months of the next government taking office because of the Liberal
legislation passed earlier in the year.
    "The Liberals have reneged on that. There were no hours of care in the
legislation," said Ryan. "This is inhumane. We can't let seniors' quality of
life continue to diminish while the government does another consultation
process. The minister's crocodile tears just won't cut it anymore. We need
more than tears. We need 3.5 hours of care and dignity back for seniors in
nursing homes."

For further information:

For further information: Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications, (416)
578-8774; Sid Ryan, President, CUPE Ontario, (416) 209-0066

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