ONA says resident care and safety can't wait
TORONTO, May 16, 2012 /CNW/ - While strongly supportive of the work of the Long Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety, the Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is saddened to report that none of the recommendations in its final report released earlier today are new.
"The work of the task force has again shown clearly that long-term care residents are suffering from an increase in acuity and that they increasingly suffer from cognitive issues, which are challenging in a chronically understaffed environment," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "This is not new, and the fix for many of the issues is not as simple as adding more personal support workers to the sector. We need to see more registered nurses who can evaluate and plan the care of these residents."
In addition, she notes that most long-term care facilities are not designed to safely manage residents suffering from cognitive impairment or mental/development illnesses. "They are simply not able to safely house these residents without risks to other residents and staff, and yet they're often placed in these homes because there is nowhere else for them to go," she said.
She explains that currently, staff do not have the time to manage the difficult environment and manage residents. These facilities are not providing training in how to do so, and the working environment that nurses find themselves in is far from ideal. ONA wishes to see more staff training and an improvement in the quality of work environment for ONA members, which would also highly benefit residents.
"ONA was very pleased to be invited to participate in the work of the task force and we are very supportive of its recommendations," said Haslam-Stroud. "Now what is needed is for the homes, the government and other partners such as the LHINs and CCACs to act, despite the current economic challenges, to promote the health and well being of these vulnerable seniors.
"We have known for years - and coroner's inquests and reports have shown us - what the issues are and what should be done. What's needed is to implement these recommendations."
ONA was one of a number of organizations participating in the work of the Task Force, which was formed in response to media reports of incidents of abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities as well as the under-reporting of the incidents. The Task Force was formed by the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors, Ontario Long-Term Care Association, Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities and the Ontario Association of Residents' Councils. ONA representatives, other members from across the sector including family and residents' councils, physicians, personal support workers, long-term care provider associations, unions and advocates participated. The report is available at www.longtermcaretaskforce.ca.
ONA is the union representing 59,000 registered nurses and allied health professions and more than 13,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in Ontario hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, industry and clinics.
For further information:
Ontario Nurses' Association