QUEEN’S PARK – Kingston families cannot stick with a long-term care system that has been cut, shortchanged and ignored, like it has been by years of Liberal and Conservative governments, said MPP Ian Arthur (Kingston and the Islands), who held a virtual press conference on Tuesday outlining the NDP’s plan to provide better care for seniors in Kingston and the Islands by making a record investment in seniors care and recognizing family caregivers as essential partners in long-term care.
“Residents and their loved ones, personal support workers and other caregivers have been reaching out with their concerns about chronic understaffing and underfunding for years,” said Arthur. “Then, one day, access to these homes was shut down, and most residents lost a significant and often unrecognized form of care, informal care from families and loved ones.”’
Arthur was joined by Terri Daniel whose father died in long-term care during the pandemic lockdown when family caregivers were no longer allowed inside long-term care facilities to help their loved ones.
“In August of this year, my dad choked to death. His meat was not properly cut up and he was not given the assistance he needed during meal time. It’s too late to provide better care for my dad, but it’s not too late to make real change in long-term care and allow residents and workers the support and dignity that all people deserve. Our elders deserve better care,” said Daniel. “I fully endorse increased staffing and training, and regular inspections and oversight. I also believe strongly that family caregivers are essential partners in long-term care. I honour my dad’s life and his preventable death by joining the call for necessary enhancements to long-term care.”
The pandemic exposed long-standing critical problems in long-term care that tragically cost the lives of too many seniors in the long-term care system, said Arthur. “It is heartbreaking to see our grandparents, neighbours and friends live out their final years like this. Our seniors have given us so much, and they deserve so much better.
“That’s why the NDP came up with a plan to overhaul Ontario’s long-term care system and invest in seniors care and so that our elderly can finally get the care they deserve. Our plan also recognizes family caregivers as essential partners in seniors care and will directly support family caregivers.”
In addition to staffing up with full-time, well-paid, well-trained caregivers to provide residents with at least four hours of hands-on care each day, the NDP plan calls for immediately bringing back annual comprehensive resident quality inspections for every home, and will make sure that all inspections are unannounced. With investments in home care, seniors will be able to stay longer in their own homes.
The NDP plan includes families as essential partners in the care of their elderly loved ones recognizing the importance of their work by providing direct support to family caregivers.
This month, Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Official Opposition New Democrats, announced her plan for an overhaul of home care and long-term care in a new model built on small, family-like homes rather than institution-like facilities. The NDP’s plan represents a record investment into the sector – including $750 million per year for eight years for capital expenses, and a ramp-up to a 30 per cent increase in the operating budget, reaching an additional $3 billion per year by 2028.
Video: Zoom press conference