SUBMISSION ON LONG TERM CARE REFORM. PRESENTED IN
ON MAY 15, 2004.
Please allow me to
take this opportunity to extend a sincere thank you to the Sudbury Health Care
Coalition Committee for inviting me here today to voice my concerns in long
term care facilities.
During my 23 years
as a health care provider I have experienced several changes in the system that
has affected the quality of life for residents in long term care facilities.
As a result of these changes I became involved as a seniors advocate for residents and have been
for many years.
Staff who choose to
work in long term care facilities, in my opinion, are a different breed. We
provide care to people who need assistance to meet their daily needs. We
become their hands, feet, arms, legs, eyes and voices.
We provide the most intimate care.
We try to meet their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual needs. As health care workers we take exceptional pride in our work and the care provided.
Hands on care providers may be responsible for tending to the basic needs of 8 up to 18 residents
in long-term care facilities.
It is impossible to provide the care that every resident deserves with the current staffing levels
in nursing homes.
For those residents
who do not have family members who are involved in their lives we are not only
their care providers but become their family members.
If they have a bad day we lend an ear and give them a hug to reassure them.
We truly care!
government eliminated the minimum 2.25 hours of nursing care a day.
Today we have a funding system based on Case Mix Indexes and Case Mix Measures.
Residents are categorized based on their needs but mostly based on the behaviors that they
Classifiers go into long term care facilities every year in the fall and review Care Plans and
daily documentation. This system
is solely dependant upon the documentation in facilities. Residents
are categorized based on the documentation, as an A, B, C, D, E, F or G. “A” is
a resident who requires very little care. “G”
is a resident who solely depends on their care providers and cannot make any
decisions that affect them directly.
For example a
75-year-old male suffers a stroke in May.
The classifiers were in the previous September and the facility received funding for him as a
category “D” resident based on his needs and behaviors at that time in
September. Companies do not receive additional money to provide care for this
resident even though his needs have changed. Health
care providers are not able to meet his needs and have to begin cutting
In the beginning of
2000, the provincial government announced funding of 100 million for long term
The majority of companies put this money towards their mortgages and staffing levels were not
Several months ago there was a Long Term Care Association Conference and a staff member from
George Smitherman’s office announced to the delegations in attendance that
companies would have to pay “claw back monies” owed to the Ministry of Health.
One has to wonder if
the recent announcement of 191 million dollars will be used by companies to
provide care or will this money be used to pay back the “claw back” money.
This money must be used to improve quality of life for our residents in long-term care facilities;
some of these people are the most venerable in our society.
Trends in facilities
are as follows, increasing private for profit ownerships of facilities,
deregulation of care standards and resident and staff protections in facilities
and increasing out of pocket expenses and many more.
The public should be
concerned how we treat our seniors in our communities and in long term care
facilities. Residents do not voluntarily live in these facilities.
They live there because they can no longer care for themselves or cannot live outside a controlled
environment. These facilities
cannot become more institutionalized or deregulated. This
is their last home until the cycle of life comes to an end! These
facilities should not become havens for companies and shareholders to make
Funding that all
levels of Government receive is from our National Treasury Board.
The money at the National Treasury Board is finance collected from workers in the form of taxes
and automatic payroll deductions. Government
and companies receiving our money should at all times be responsible and
As workers we should have a voice as to how our money is spent.
long-term care facilities are owed dignity and respect, at the very least. There
has to be a system in place that provides a minimum standard of care for all
agencies and companies responsible and accountable?
That is the dilemma.
Our concerns and duty is and always will be for the betterment of our residents and to the
community as a whole.
Advocate, Concerned Citizen
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