Media Advisory - Caregivers to picket nursing homes for standard of care; Time for Health Minister to care for elderly, frail

    NAPANEE, ON, Feb. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Front line caregivers from John M.
Parrot Centre will be out in front of their nursing home on Valentine's Day,
February 14th to put pressure on Ontario's Minister of Health to show he
really cares by implementing a long-overdue standard of care in nursing homes.
    Elderly and frail residents in Ontario's long-term care facilities are
facing increasingly intolerable living conditions because Health Minister
George Smitherman has failed to establish staffing and care standards for
nursing homes despite repeated promises. Incontinence products are being
rationed, residents are waiting hours for a meal and sometimes have to forgo
walking and exercising because caregivers are so short-staffed and run off
their feet, say the workers from the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
Local 3014.
    The Health Minister made the promise during consultations regarding
Bill 140, the Long-Term Care Act, which was passed last spring. Now, one year
later, the government is running yet another consultation led by
Shirley Sharkey and there is no indication that a minimum standard of care is
being considered in this process.
    "The time for talk is over. Study after study has linked staffing and
care standards to improved care and safety," says Sid Ryan, President of
CUPE Ontario. "When is this government ever going to give our most vulnerable
citizens the dignity and respect that they deserve?"
    One year ago, CUPE Ontario and the Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) pressed
Smitherman to establish an average of three-and-a-half hours of care per day
per resident. That is the standard that Alberta, New Brunswick and Manitoba
are striving to achieve. Thirty-seven U.S. states have also established
minimum staffing standards either in statute or regulation.

    Front line caregivers will be giving out literature at:

                 Date:       Thursday February 14, 2008
                 Time:       1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
                 Location:   210 Simcoe Street, Napanee

For further information:

For further information: Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications, (647)
225-3685; Ron Morris, CUPE 3014, (613) 354-6023

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