Media advisory - Nursing home caregivers to picket local MPP office; Time for Health Minister to care for elderly, frail

    ORANGEVILLE, ON, Feb. 13 /CNW Telbec/ - Front line caregivers from
Dufferin Oaks Home For Seniors will picket local MPP Sylvia Jones' office on
Valentine's Day, February 14, 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 3192.
    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 on hand at:

                    Date:      Thursday, February 14, 2008
                    Time:      l0:00 a.m.
                    Location:  244 Broadway Avenue, Orangeville

For further information:

For further information: Valerie Dugale, CUPE Communications, (647)
225-3685; Karen Gray, CUPE 3192, (519) 925-5452

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