OANHSS Lauds Focus on Enhancing Staff Capacity: Sharkey Report

    TORONTO, June 17 /CNW/ - The association representing not-for-profit long
term care homes expressed its support for the direction outlined in a new
report released today by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care on staffing
and care standards for long term care homes.
    "We commend Minister Smitherman for his leadership in commissioning this
report and Shirlee Sharkey for her thorough and thoughtful handling of a very
complex and important topic," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association
of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors.
    The report, People Caring for People: Impacting the Quality of Life and
Care of Residents of Long-Term Care Homes, identifies 11 recommendations
designed to achieve two principal goals: strengthening staff capacity for
better care and establishing a strong foundation for quality care and
accountability for resident outcomes.
    "One of the single biggest issues in our sector is having the right
number and mix of staff to meet the individual needs of each resident. We
heartily support any steps to enhance capacity and allow front-line staff to
do more than just attend to residents' basic needs," stated Rubin. "Our
Association has long been concerned with the increasing amount of time staff
are required to spend on compliance-related reporting and other documentation
so the recognition of the need to free up front-line people to give more
personal attention to residents and families is welcomed," Rubin added.
    Also key among Sharkey's recommendations is the establishment of
provincial guidelines to support funding increases to raise the level of care
to an average of four paid hours per resident per day over the next four
    "We were especially pleased to see that the report recognized the need
for funding enhancements to strengthen staff capacity," said Rubin. "The
reality is the need is now. We can't continually ask homes to do more - care
for residents who are older and more chronically ill than ever before, look
after an increasingly large population of people with dementia and behavioural
challenges, meet new standards and new regulatory requirements, provide
enhanced programs and enriched environments - without giving them the
resources they need," Rubin added.
    The report also recommends against a regulation specifying a provincial
staffing ratio or staffing standard. OANHSS agrees, believing that homes must
be empowered to determine how best to use their staff and resources to meet
the needs of their residents.
    "It is so very important that homes have the flexibility to determine the
appropriate staffing allocation that takes into consideration the many factors
that make each home unique - the mix of residents, staff skill sets and
experiences, the home environment and philosophy of care - to achieve the best
possible care outcomes," said Rubin.
    OANHSS looks forward to reviewing the report in further detail and
working with the Ministry on the implementation of the recommendations.

    OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit
providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include
municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes,
seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations
operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 5,000 seniors' housing units
across the province.

For further information:

For further information: Debbie Humphreys, (W) (905) 851-8821 x233, (C)
(416) 553-7401

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Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)

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