Ontario’s long-term care homes were neglected, sector needs reform, commission says

Ontario’s long-term care homes were neglected, sector needs reform, commission says

The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is calling on the Ford government to act immediately to implement the recommendations in the Long-Term Care-COVID-19 Commission's final report, released today.

Ontario's auditor general released a scathing report Wednesday on the COVID-19 response in the province's long-term care homes, but the findings were no surprise to many.

The findings come in a 322-page report from Ontario's Long-Term Care Commission that was submitted to the government tonight.

In spite of the commission's strong message, she said she and others in her shoes aren't convinced Premier Doug Ford's government will act quickly to enact sweeping change.

"You know, I think the government measures and processes, we were trying to move fast for government".

At that time, long-term care residents accounted for almost 1,400 of the province's 1,904 COVID-19 deaths.

In Question Period later on Monday morning, NDP leader Andrea Horwath told Fullerton that staffing levels in most long-term care homes at lower rates than they were at the onset of the first wave of the pandemic, and criticized the government for pledging to increase the standard of care in homes to four hours per day, only by 2025. The commission recommends that the Chief Medical Officer of Health "must be responsible for the province's pandemic stockpile, and that the government should provide the funding for the entirety of this, including for all long-term care homes".

The report adds that despite warnings from experts, "there was no plan to protect residents in long-term care". In one home, 50 per cent of staff were on a floor, forcing them to transfer between positive COVID-19 units and non-COVID-19 units.

Even after the commission was launched - and after it released two interim sets of recommendations _ the virus continued to tear through the facilities.

The commission, headed by High Court Associate Chief Justice Frank Morocco, asked long-term care residents, staff and management.

In all, the report said, the commission heard from more than 700 people.

Health Minister Christine Elliott said there are 1,050 new cases in Toronto, 819 in Peel Region, 286 in York Region, 158 in Ottawa and 157 in Durham Region.

Earlier Friday, Ford said he welcomed the commission's report, as hard as it would be to read. "Our long-term care system needs radical reform", said Coates. "By telling the truth and speaking out, pressing the issue and repeating these stories over and over again and reminding everyone, this should never have happened".

Sorrow for the survivors and families of the victims is not enough.

AdvantAge Ontario has been the trusted voice for senior care for 100 years and is the only provincial association representing the full spectrum of the senior care continuum.

"We have a duty to those who lost their lives in this to make sure we don't accept anything less than moving forward with change _ building out the infrastructure, building the workforce and building the partnership in a way that allows us to reimagine what long-term care is and how we serve our aging population", she said.

"As Ontario continues to respond to the pandemic, it must remain our priority and focus at this time", Donna Duncan said in a statement, pointing to the work long-term care homes are doing to alleviate strain on hospitals.

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