The Elderly Deserve Dignified and Respectful Care

Ontario Nurses' Association Calls for a Minimum Standard of Care for Long-Term Care Residents

TORONTO, October 18, 2013 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Ontario Nurses' Association (ONA) is calling for a funded and regulated minimum standard of an average of four hours of care per resident/per day of nursing and personal care for residents of Ontario long-term care facilities.

"The elderly deserve dignified and respectful care," says ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "As front-line registered nurses, we have been calling for improvements in care for these vulnerable residents for more than a decade. Yet despite coroners' inquest recommendations stemming from tragedies such as that into Casa Verde in 2005, registered nurse staffing levels have continued to drop, with very few exceptions, and our residents are not getting the quality care they deserve. This leaves our most vulnerable citizens at risk of suffering needlessly."

Understaffing of long-term care facilities continues to be the reality across the province, says Haslam-Stroud.

"ONA has met with officials who are aware of what needs to be done to protect these residents. A funded and regulated minimum staffing standard must include .78 worked hours a day of RN care per resident to ensure that our residents are provided the care they require. Increasing these care hours would prevent needless admissions of many seniors to the ER. Most importantly, RN care would ensure that residents' quality of life remains as good as possible for as long as possible."

Haslam-Stroud calls on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to act now on mandating a minimum staffing standard of four hours of care per resident per day for long-term care facilities now. She explains that four hours means that our residents receive four full hours of care.

"There must be no wiggle room for long-term care owners/operators to bend any minimum care hour standards," says Haslam-Stroud.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care facilities, public health, the community, clinics and industry.