There is a growing problem in Ontario regarding long-term care facilities . There currently is no accountability as Ontario has fallen behind in policing issues in this vulnerable sector.
As a person who has experienced the long term care system after being the primary care giver to my Mother who had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease; to an individual who went back to school to receive a diploma in Activation in Gerontology; to working in the field as a frontline worker; to manager, I have experienced the demise of the care of our elderly.
What are a few of the issues?
1. There are not enough beds in long term care to care for our elderly, especially individuals suffering from dementia of the Alzheimer, Lewy Body, Picks, Frontotemporal, or Creutzfeldt-Jakob type.
2. Our vulnerable seniors are being placed with people who have had mental health and / or addiction issues throughout their lives. Where else can these people go???
3. Staffing at homes is at the ministry standard minimum (why put more staff on when the ministry has determined who needs more or less care from documentation done by the homes???) The standard and dollars are calculated from the CMI (case mix index), which is problematic at the best of times. Each individual is determined to receive a certain number of hours of nursing care based on the calculation.
4. The number of ‘younger’ individuals entering long-term care is increasing. Again where do individuals who have Down’s syndrome or who have complex care issues (paraplegic, quadriplegic, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, etc.) go?
5. Not only are there a lack of staff on the floors, but a lack of education. Although most homes will say they have education in-services held regularly, I can tell you that staff need more than a half hour in-service – and usually when staff attend an in-service they are OFF the floor… there is no back up.
6. The Administrators from the homes are only concerned with dollars especially when working at a private home (someone has to make a profit).
7. Incidents are not being reported to the home or Ministry as Residents, families, and staff are still (yes in this day and age) fearful of any repercussions, so many issues go unreported.
As you can see from the above, Ontario is ignoring this ‘ticking time bomb’ in consideration to the care of individuals in Long-Term Care. From abuse to neglect (which is just as heinous); to lack of staff and education, we are going to see more and more ‘headlines’ that reflect these problems.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to vent my personal and professional frustrations with the system. Please understand that people are placed in long-term care because families can no longer deal with a loved one personally, safely and/or financially, and it is usually the last choice when all other avenues have been exhausted. Then there are the individuals who have no family and are covered under PGT (public guardian trust), where is their advocate?
Bottom line, these are the people who help build our society and now just happen to be the most vulnerable and are relying upon THAT society to get them through their final years comfortably, safely, and more importantly, with dignity. We OWE it to them to properly care for their needs, and more importantly care for them as a ‘person’ who has lived a life, and not an inconvenience or annoyance…