Long Term Care Report Provides Hope for Sector in Crisis
Report addresses some of the real problems and issues that CLAC has been raising with the Ontario government for years
CLAC is pleased that Minister Merrilee Fullerton has publicly released the findings and recommendations of Ontario's Long-Term Care Staffing Study Advisory Group. The report addresses some of the real problems with staffing in the sector and provides direction on the key issues that must be fixed. Many recommendations are in line with issues CLAC has been raising with government for many years.
“Reading this report felt like a sign of light at the end of what has been a very long and very dark tunnel,” says Ian DeWaard, Ontario director for CLAC. “Our members are dedicated and selfless front-line workers who have been crying out for relief for years. For the first time in a long time, it appears that we may have a government that is prepared to take meaningful action.”
The advisory group of 10 experts was convened in February 2020, in response to Recommendation #85 of the Elizabeth Wettlaufer inquiry report released by Justice Eileen Gillese. This staff report calls for increased staffing to a minimum of four hours of direct care per day, and better working conditions, as well as initiatives to attract more workers to the long term care sector.
The report also further highlights the need for cultural change so that healthcare workers can focus on providing excellent care to residents over excessive documentation and compliance reporting. This shift will be enabled by relevant training, effective leadership, and professional expertise.
“While attraction and retaining staff is important, we also need to address the culture of fear that has been impressed upon workers by a bureaucratic system of oversight that in the past has seemed more concerned with paperwork compliance than hands-on care,” says DeWaard.
CLAC looks forward to discussing with the government how to immediately implement the recommended changes. The extension of the pandemic pay set to expire in August and the removal of the arbitrary one-percent cap on compensation increases for some healthcare workers would be an excellent first step toward ensuring that burnt-out long term care employees remain in this essential and heroic line of work.