Candidates Plans for Long Term Care

Given that this Riding and Cobourg in particular has a higher than average demographic of seniors, the last question in this series should be of particular local interest: How will you ensure Seniors get good Long Term Care?  This issue got a good deal of interest during the pandemic since Long Term Care homes seemed to have a high proportion of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

This is the fourth and last question in the series of questions I have asked of Election Candidates.  If you missed the earlier questions or need a refresher, see the Resources below.

I would like to thank all candidates for their cooperation in providing responses – they make my job easier.

I have tried to keep the presentation of these Election articles neutral – this time the sequence is reverse alphabetical Party name.

I plan a final article in this series on May 26  – it will attempt to summarize and indicate reader interest in each of the questions.  Then of course I will cover the election results – hopefully on June 3.

David Piccini – PC Party

David Piccini
David Piccini

For decades, long-term care was neglected by governments of all stripes, and the pandemic showed the impact that this has had on the system. No one got it right…but we made the commitment to finally address the situation.

We’re the Government fixing this!

Our PC government established an average of 4 hours of daily direct care into legislation;  we’ve invested $4.9 billion into the training and hiring of staff in long term care that will recruit more than 27,000 personal support workers, nurses and doctors to Ontario.

  • Here’s our track record on some of the historic work we are doing to fix long-term care in Northumberland-Peterborough South over the past four years:
  • Building 469 new and 927 upgraded long-term care beds across Northumberland-Peterborough South;
  • New builds from Norwood to Newcastle; Brighton to Port Hope;
  • Expanding Ontario’s Community Paramedicine program to Northumberland County

This historic investment in new, modern and safe spaces for our loved ones stands in stark contrast to the Liberal Party – they only built 611 long-term care beds from 2011 to 2018.

In Northumberland Peterborough South, our PC government has built 1,396 new or upgraded long term care beds in our community alone, double what the Liberals did across the whole province over 7 years. 

Vanessa Head
Vanessa Head

Vanessa Head – Ontario Party

As the Ontario Party, we believe that family is the bedrock of our communities. We also believe in every Ontarian has the right to good medical care. I would refer you to our health care policies, as well as promotion of family connection with elders in care.

For more details on our policies, we recommend visiting our platform at www.ontarioparty.ca

Kim McArthur-Jackson – New Democratic Party

The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the disaster lurking in long-term care. More than 4,000 people died, alone and in pain.

We will make long-term care public and non-profit. The Ontario NDP will phase out for-profit operators within eight years and put an end to long-term care that puts profits over senior care by legislating smaller, family-like municipal and non-profit long term care homes.

Kim McArthur-Jackson
Kim McArthur-Jackson
  • We will fund 50,000 new long-term care spaces by 2030.
  • Our investment will focus on expanding the not-for-profit and municipal sector, where funding goes to patient care instead of profit.
  • We will establish a legislated minimum of four hours hands-on care for every long-term care resident in Ontario, not just a target to be reached in the future. We will properly fund homes to ensure staffing needs to meet minimum hours of care.
  • We will legislate a minimum of 70% full-time workers and wage parity for healthcare workers in LTC as well as paid sick days.
  • We will continue to support the right for residents to have access to designated caregivers and for spouses not to be separated against their will.
  • As part of our commitment to publicly-funded dental care for all seniors without retiree benefits, we’ll work with long-term care providers to ensure that residents have full access to publicly-funded dental services for seniors.
  • We’ll scrap Bill 124, Doug Ford’s unfair wage cap bill, which disadvantages non-profit long-term care homes and prevents them from retaining staff and create a strategy to address violence against healthcare workers.
Joshua Chalhoub
Joshua Chalhoub

Joshua Chalhoub – New Blue Party

I would prefer not to use the term “long-term care”, but rather, long-term services. For years, we have thought of long-care in the context of LTC facilities or retirement homes. The first step in addressing this issue is to rethink how we deliver care and services to seniors and re-define the expectations while bridging the concept of quality of life. For many seniors, quality of life means remaining in their homes for as long as possible. While we have limited in-home and assisted living programs available, those programs are underfunded, lack sufficient staffing, training and are saddled by layers of bureaucracy leaving them unsustainable and inefficient. Assisted living innovation could offer an opportunity whereby seniors would receive a more natural and dignified quality of life. Improving upon these programs while expanding the level and frequency of care would reduce the burden on provincially funded facilities allowing seniors to remain home longer and in control.

Additional LTC beds are required for those where other programs are not an option while reducing wait lists. We must ensure that proper legislation exists to maintain accountability, compliance enforcement and transparency by operators. The province must be committed to reforms. Everything from outdated structures, poor training, staffing issues, PSW regulations and infectious disease preparedness must be addressed as a priority. We have failed our seniors, failed their families and most importantly failed to treat  seniors with respect and dignity that they deserve. No person should suffer alone – no senior should have died alone.

Jeff Kawzenuk
Jeff Kawzenuk

Jeff Kawzenuk – Liberal Party

  • Help 400,000 more seniors get home care by 2026
  • Increase funding for home care by 10% annually prioritizing non-profit care
  • Fund assisted living alternatives and “hub and spoke” community care
  • Create a dementia care network
  • Fully fund the clinical costs for hospices.

We’ll guarantee that any senior who needs care in their own home gets it by increasing the annual budget for home and community care by over $2 billion.
We’ll also fund 15,000 new assisted living homes.

  • End for-profit long-term care as quickly as possible with a target of 2028
  • Place audits, inspections and zero-tolerance sanctions on long-term care homes that endanger residents or misdirect funds.
  • Repeal rules that protect long-term care companies from legal liability.
  • Build and redevelop 58,000 new non-profit long-term care spaces
  • Ensure seniors in long-term care homes receive at least four hours of direct care every day.
  • We’ll also fund 15,000 new assisted living homes.

Lisa Francis – Green Party

Lisa Francis
Lisa Francis

It’s time to restore dignity to elders and commit to putting care and compassion over profits. Now is the time to invest in and deliver an equitable, accessible, and comprehensive healthcare system that Ontarians deserve.

The Ontario Green Party’s health care plan respects personal support workers and other healthcare workers and works to retain them rather than burn them out.

Neglect and cost-cutting from successive governments, along with a weak pandemic response, has resulted in a tragic humanitarian crisis.

We will build 55,000 long-term care beds by 2033 and at least 96,000 by 2041 to meet growing demand. We will increase base funding for long-term care by 10%. We will increase funding to home care services by 20% so that people can safely stay in their homes longer.

Until we repeal Bill 124 and resolve the problematic issues in Bill 106, we will provide a minimum hourly wage of $25 to PSWs.

Ontario Greens’ have a plan to make it easier for elders to age in place, with dignity, and real support. Our solutions will replace the profit motive in long-term care, with a real commitment to give each Ontarian the care they need.

Note that with one exception, all the answers/responses in this series came from the Candidates themselves and not from their party.  However, in general, any statements by Candidates will be in-line with their party’s policies.

Resources

Previous questions and responses

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Marilyn
24 May 2022 3:53 pm

The Liberal Parties’ idea of helping seniors stay in their homes for as long as possible is the best and most cost efficient plan. It costs much less to help a senior with home care and who wouldn’t want to stay in their home as long as possible.

Merle Gingrich
24 May 2022 10:56 am

Reply to Ben, you critize the Conservative Candidate, that’s your perogative but we also remember that COVID 19 dropped in without next to any warning and thousands died. It’s now a Wake Up Call.

ben
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
24 May 2022 10:39 pm

Of course I criticise the Conservative candidate they own the LTC mess and the 4,000 deaths that are covid or covid related.

We know it dropped in without warning but Doug Ford completely screwed up the response and should be judged for it!

The passing of the “Operator protection from civil liability Act” was just rubbing salt. Totally indefensible.

Cathy
Reply to  Merle Gingrich
29 May 2022 9:22 am

But we did have time. We watched on tv how Europe was handling, and we waited, thinking god I hope it doesn’t come here. The disremembering of SARS. Just before the pandemic, doug ford let go LTC inspectors at the urging of his LTC buddies. The eyes needed to ensure loved ones were properly taken care of. the PPE that had been stockpiled, was expired and thrown out, and not replaced. The years of mismanagement in LTC the curtain was thrown back for all to see. Then the CAF called in to care for our elders, when all they needed was a wipe down food and water. 4700 elders lost their lives. Promises by doug ford that changes were coming, but nothing has changed. He now wants Ontarians to wait another four to five years for changes to be made. The elderly can’t wait that long.The fumbling of the vaccine rollout, a highway nobody wants, ODSB remains unchanged. Cancelling EV charging stations, and the loss of a $2.5 billion LG Chem plant in Windsor that would have brought over 1000 jobs to Windsor. Promises made that Doug would keep rent controls, then not. The list is long. This isn’t my Ontario. Please don’t look away when you go to the polls on Wednesday.

Kathleen
24 May 2022 8:45 am

No matter which party we choose to vote for, health care for seniors will remain the same unless we adopt a policy like Norway and Sweden. Instead of building so many ‘for profit’ care homes, Govt should spend that money on educating and paying PSW’s a decent wage so that more people would want to be a PSW. Not as many seniors would have to leave their home when they don’t want to.

JimT
Reply to  Kathleen
28 May 2022 12:24 am

But Govt doesn’t build or pay for “for profit” care homes, so there is no savings for the government to use for other purposes.

The “for profit” facilities are built by the private owners. Each facility is one less for the government to build and pay for.

John L. Hill
24 May 2022 8:44 am

I am amazed experienced political candidates are still claiming the answer is to turn long term care over to not for profit operations. There is a lot of confusion: People mistake not for profit with charity. Not for profits do look to make a profit. It is just where the profit goes that makes the difference. Instead of channeling profits to shareholders, not for profits reinvest the money in the operation usually by paying enormous bonuses to the operators of the not for profit – not improving the care or services provided.
Years ago I represented a multimillionaire prisoner named Helmuth Buxbaum. He ran a not for profit. Senior care facility before he hired the murder of his wife. Helmuth would tell fellow prisoners that when they are released, they should form not for profits if they too wished to become rich.

ben
24 May 2022 7:20 am

Quote from the Conservative candidate:

“For decades, long-term care was neglected by governments of all stripes, and the pandemic showed the impact that this has had on the system. “

But let’s not skim over the fact that many people died of inadequate care under your watch, you were the government during this time – don’t blame the libs for this one – and what was your main response: a law that outlawed civil suits against the operators of the failed LTC homes.

Guess you want to protect the operators not the elderly!

Last edited 1 month ago by Ben
Patricia Sinnnott
Reply to  ben
24 May 2022 8:26 am

Discussions about residents of LTC facilities needing more care due to increasing acuity (dementia) began 30 years ago! Raising the standard time for care to 4 hours came to the legislature in 2017 but never reached implementation. Some 4,000 LTC residents died prematurely in 2020 because Doug Ford’s PCs did not act sooner. Protecting for-profit LTC providers will not reduce their neglect. Throwing money at training PSWs will not fix the problem if those workers are not paid a living wage and are not respected!

Cobourg taxpayer
23 May 2022 6:25 pm

Fall 2021 my mother moved from her house where she lived alone into a for profit memory care wing in a retirement home. For 2 years prior she had in home care supposedly 7 days a week twice a day. Mondays and Fridays often no one showed up. Workers were supposed to be there for an hour but no one stayed that long, maybe 20 minutes. Most psws had absolutely no interest in my mother’s well being. Many didn’t speak English and appeared uneducated. The for profit memory care where she is now is top notch. I don’t want to hear that these will be eliminated. My mother was frugal her entire life and that is how she affords top notch care in her final years.
My father who’d had a stroke was in not for profit LTC for over 10 years. I visited my father and it was terrible. The residents including my father had a miserable life. One shower a week, in a diaper, unable to do anything independently….what we put our seniors through is unbelievable. I do not want to live that way. Profit or not for profit,no one wants to work there and I know my father did not want to be there. Assisted dying would have been his choice.
It’s discouraging to hear more money being thrown at care for our seniors because that will not solve the fact that while no one wants their elders to die they also do not want to personally care for them. Why are we as a society afraid of death? When someone has lost all semblance of independence it’s time to let them go.

MiriamM
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
24 May 2022 12:23 pm

Would you mind sharing the monthly cost (appx.) of the private memory wing facility and does the cost vary depending upon the services your family member needs?

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  MiriamM
24 May 2022 5:30 pm

My mother pays $5000 per month. For an additional $500 she can receive additional services. Staff can not do two person lifts eg. If my mom became paralyzed, LTC would be the only option. While this sounds like a lot of money my mother affords this by the frugal living ( modest house, modest car, never carrying debt) my parents had, with a single bread winner and raising 3 children.

MiriamM
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
25 May 2022 10:00 am

Good point about what life could bring, like needing a lift into a wheelchair. A private facility, full service, was quoted to our family at $7950 a month. And, I have heard too many stories from people I know that at some point they too had to move their family member into the long term care system, typically at a crisis point. As they described to me, they were told they had to leave. My parents sound very much like yours, of the same generation. About saving for retirement, definitely, the senior should have a choice to live in the manner of lifestyle they value, is of benefit to them and according to their wishes. I find it is less about money paid and more about how a place is run and the staffing i.e. regular full time and less short term contract. It is also important that family and friends stay engaged with the senior on a regular basis.

ben
Reply to  MiriamM
25 May 2022 2:32 pm

A point here Miriam. As you know no matter how good the “full service” facility they will move you on into the LTC system as soon as they suspect you need more than a modicum of nursing care. Then the problems start, and the Government of the day, no matter what political stripe, have not solved that nut.