What is Long Term Care Awareness Day?
Many Ontarians do not fully understand what Long-term care (LTC) is and how it works. The system is both confusing and difficult to access and navigate.
Long-term care is where many of our aging family or friends will receive support for their care needs while living comfortably and safely. You may not want to or need to think about this right now, but often someone you know–your parents, in-laws, grandparents, and other older adults–may need LTC one day.
As our population ages, Ontarians need a long-term care system that is capable of providing the highest quality of care. Concerned Friends works hard every day to address issues relating to LTC and to help people who are currently navigating the system.
However, we also feel it is important that more and more people understand what is at stake for their future and our communities. Today’s LTC and future LTC is affected NOW, every day, by government policy, your voice as a voter, social attitudes, and systemic issues.
For those reasons, we are marking one special day a year to raise more awareness, gather more voices, and gather more friends!
What Can Friends of LTC Do?
Here are some things you can do on November 22nd:
1. Check out our LTCAD Action Guide to learn more about LTC in Ontario.
2. Share this page with friends, family and colleagues.
3. Follow us on your social media channels.
4. Share an image below along with our hashtags on your social media.
5. Celebrate a senior living in LTC!
6. Send a message to your local MPP and Ontario’s Premier.
7. Become a Supporter of Concerned Friends.
As friends of LTC and LTC residents, we celebrate that residents and their friends, families, and caregivers have been reunited after strict isolation periods during the COVID-19 pandemic. As difficult as the pandemic was for everyone, it was especially painful and often tragic for these members of our community.
There are simple ways to show that we care for LTC residents. Taking extra precautions to mask while visiting, getting involved on Family Councils, connecting with a local LTC home to find out how to get involved or help, visiting with someone who is alone or bringing cards, games, books or puzzles, express that our friends in LTC homes are seen and valued members of our communities.
Copy and paste the message below in an email to your local MPP
As my elected official, I am asking you to actively and urgently advocate for the following improvements to Long Term Care Homes in Ontario (LTCH):
Increase accountability through proactive inspections and aggressive enforcement. Existing mechanisms for accountability of LTCHs are not being used. CBC reported that in 2019 only nine Resident Quality Inspections (RQI) were carried out. [Source] The new LTCH Act re-introduces annual unscheduled and comprehensive inspections. Demand strict follow-up and penalties for non-compliance.
Address staffing issues through a bold strategy to recruit, retain and enhance LTCH staff.Staff turnover and vacancy rates have been high. Salaries in LTCHs are not competitive with hospitals, resulting in serious staff shortages. A bold and comprehensive recruitment and retention strategy needs to be implemented to address vacancies and the need for more qualified staff to care for residents with increasingly complex needs.
Increase quality and safety of care. Residents in LTCHs comprise one of the most vulnerable populations in Canada. LTCH residents accounted for 3% of all COVID-19 cases and 43% of all COVID-19 deaths. [Source] LTCHs must be funded for enhanced staffing models associated with quality. Each of the 627 homes in the province should have a resident medical doctor, increased number of nursing staff, and access to a full range of allied health practitioners.
Expand availability of LTCHs in collaboration with municipal and not-for-profit providers. Ontario’s population is aging. Currently, over 40,000 people are on the waitlist for LTCHs. The median wait time for a LTCH bed from community is 188 days and from hospital is 114 days. Demand for long-term care beds will double within the next ten years. [Source] Expansion of beds must be in the not-for-profit or municipal sector in order to maximize accountability for public funds and ensure all health dollars go to resident care and not profit lines.
Following decades of neglect to the LTC system, I am using my voice as a resident of Ontario to help protect our aging friends’ future care needs and quality of life. How will you use your voice as an elected official, to represent the interests of current and future residents of Long-Term Care in Ontario?
Social Media Sharing
Download and share one of our social media templates. Use the information on this page to share your thoughts and your commitment to becoming a friend of Long-Term Care! You can also share this page with friends, family and colleagues. (Right-click on desired image and choose “download image” or “save image”)