Advocacy group calling for immediate action to improve conditions among long-term care facilities

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The Ontario Health Coalition (OHC) continues to decry the abhorrent state of many long-term care facilities in the province.

Recently, military personnel were dispatched to assist residents at several long-term care facilities due to the less-than-sanitary conditions residents were being subjected to.

The OHC is calling for the Province to improve access to PPE, take concrete measures to address critical staffing shortages, improve infection control and training and workplace safety, take concrete measures to isolate residents who test positive, intervene in homes that have incompetent or negligent management, and show coherent coordinated leadership in this sector rather than leaving it to voluntary arrangements between provider companies.

We are beyond frustrated,” Natalie Mehra, executive director of the OHC, said in a news release. “Thousands of staff and residents alike have been infected with COVID-19, almost 1,500 residents and staff have died, yet we are still waiting for a coherent coordinated plan from Ontario’s government to intervene actively in long-term care homes with outbreaks."

Aside from individual staff transgressions, which require proper management of staff and proper training, there are clear systemic issues here. We have repeatedly raised the issue of staff being required to wear the same PPE from resident to resident or patient to patient until it is 'visibly soiled.' This would have been completely unacceptable prior to COVID-19 and yet it is routinely the case in homes and hospitals that say that they are complying with Public Health Ontario’s directives and guidelines,” she continued.

Mehra further points out that a lack of PPE equipment and poor management have been allowed to continue due to a lack of action from the Provincial Government.

"Our provincial government should have applied the precautionary principle and taken much more active measures to improve the standard of infection control, workplace safety and access to PPE," she said.

The OHC is once again calling for swift action to improve conditions--for both staff and residents--among Ontario's long-term care facilities.

From our provincial government we need a coherent plan including concrete measures to improve PPE supply and infection control, to stabilize the workforce, and leadership and coordination to stem the tide of infections that is sweeping through our health care facilities,” Mehra said.

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