Health coalition, careworkers & seniors hold "rocking chair" rally Aug. 18 - Call for action on nursing home standards to be delivered at Smitherman's summer picnic



    
    What:     Rocking chair protest for nursing homes standards
    Where:    Allan Gardens, at the corner of Carlton & Sherbourne, Toronto
    When:     Saturday, August 18, 12 Noon
    

    TORONTO, Aug. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Seniors, constituents and nursing home
care-workers are pushing the McGuinty government to introduce a minimum
standard of care, 3.5 hours per day per patient, for the province's nursing
homes.
    This past spring, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care George Smitherman
said in Committee Hearings he would introduce minimum care standards to
protect residents and staff in long-term care facilities. The new nursing home
legislation was passed in June, but no regulation to bring in the promised
care standards was introduced, and the government's term is coming to an end.
    "Introducing a regulation stipulating 3.5 hours of care per day is all
the Minister of Health needs to do," said Natalie Mehra, Director of the
Ontario Health Coalition. "Minister Smitherman can do this before the election
and show, once and for all, that he is serious about taking action on behalf
of more than 70,000 vulnerable seniors and persons with disabilities across
Ontario."
    "We will continue to press for concrete action to demonstrate good faith
on this issue," noted Derrell Dular of the Alliance of Seniors/Older Canadians
Network. "At this point, we want to see movement forward on the regulation to
bring in a minimum care standard and we seek a clear election promise from all
political parties that this will be a priority."
    "We have not only been waiting years for the reinstatement of adequate
staffing standards, but we also see the substantial improvements projected by
Bill 140 at risk of evaporating if there are not enough staff members to carry
out the improvements," said Ethel Meade of the Ontario Coalition of Senior
Citizen Organizations. "We hope the McGuinty government is listening and
introduces a regulation instituting a minimum of 3.5 hours of care per day
before the election campaign begins."

    Background:

    The Harris government withdrew the minimum care standards that forced
homes to provide a minimum of 2.25 hours of care per day per resident in
nursing homes. The homes have since operated without minimum care standards. A
2001 PriceWaterhouse Coopers study found that care levels subsequently fell
below the previous standard and were the worst in a comparison of
jurisdictions across Canada and the U.S. while the acuity of residents was
increasing. Since the Harris era, the Ontario Health Coalition, seniors'
organizations, health professionals and unions have been advocating for a
re-regulation of the sector to combat neglect and improve conditions for
residents and caregivers. Roughly 70,000 Ontarians live in these homes.




For further information:

For further information: Natalie Mehra, Director, Ontario Health
Coalition, cell (416) 230 6402; Derrell Dular, Alliance of Seniors/Older
Canadians Network - Toronto, (416) 260 3429; Ethel Meade, Ontario Coalition of
Senior Citizens Organizations, (416) 363 1289

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Ontario Health Coalition

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