Ontario Liberals Release Emergency Long-Term Care Plan

TORONTO – Ontario Liberals are proposing a comprehensive, three-pillar plan to tackle the ongoing fifth wave crisis in our long-term care homes. Ontario has faced a 250 per cent increase in long-term care outbreaks over the past three weeks.

“Our nursing homes are in crisis and we need immediate action to protect seniors and the frontline workers caring for them,” stated Ontario Liberal Leader, Steven Del Duca. “We learned so many tragic lessons during the first wave and yet Doug Ford still hasn’t created a strong iron ring around our nursing homes.”

Del Duca believes the province’s Long-Term Care response should focus on staffing capacity, vaccination and testing, and infection prevention and control. The Ontario Liberal Plan includes pandemic pay and bonuses to help retain Nurses and PSWs, and a strategy to expand in-home vaccinations for staff and residents in Long-Term Care.

“With outbreaks in long-term care at an all time high, it’s time to put the safety of our loved ones first,” added Del Duca. “Doug Ford and his Conservatives are only making the situation worse, losing the minister responsible and replacing them with a part-time minister who holds another portfolio. He needs to get back to work on a real iron ring around Long-Term Care.”

The Ontario Liberal Party will release its full Long-Term Care Platform in the coming months, but believes today’s proposed plan is needed urgently to end the ongoing crisis.

Full Emergency Plan:

Staffing

  • Implement an emergency staffing plan for LTC homes. Staffing plan would recruit:

    • Retired health professionals (nurses, PSWs, doctors, etc.)

    • Request Government of Canada assistance of Armed Forces at most impacted homes

    • Include internationally-educated doctors in the recent plan to speed up getting internationally-educated nurses credentialed.

  • Reinstate pandemic pay for all health care workers who continue to risk exposure to COVID-19

    • Provinces like Quebec have given bonuses of up to $18,000 to retain nurses

  • Recall the legislature to immediately repeal Bill 124

    • Currently Bill 124 does not allow not-for-profit homes to increase wages for workers, while for-profit and municipal homes can.

  • Establish regulation over temporary staffing agencies, so that they cannot price gouge long-term care homes desperately requiring staffing

  • Provide mental health supports to workers in LTC facilities facing unprecedented burnout during this pandemic.

Vaccination and Testing

  • Ensure that all staff have a mandatory booster shot and that residents obtain their third and fourth doses of the vaccine.

  • Ensure that all long-term care homes have sufficient access to rapid testing, so that all staff and caregivers can rapid test on a daily basis.

  • Ensure that all homes are prioritized rapid turn-around-time for PCR testing, so that outbreaks can be swiftly identified and managed.

Infection Prevention and Control

  • Provide full transparency on the status of ventilation and filtration systems by LTC home.

  • Ensure that all LTC homes have sufficient and timely access to PPE, including N95 masks for staff, oxygen, therapeutics, labs and imaging.

  • Pursue a balanced approach to infection prevention and control in homes that balances both outbreak prevention and management with resident, family and caregiver well-being.

  • Re-establish partnerships between LTC homes and nearby hospitals, as was done in previous waves, to allow for streamlined access to expertise and where necessary, equipment and supplies.

 

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