In a perfect world, this would go without saying. But in Ontario today, the ratios of staff to residents is simply too high to provide safe care with dignity.
On a day shift, one personal support worker can be responsible for the care of as many as a dozen residents. A nurse can be assigned monitoring, medications and treatments for as many as 50 residents. On other shifts those ratios easily double.
That means that they work against the clock.
Last year thousands of people took the #6minchallenge, highlighting the amount of time a PSW had to get each resident up and prepared for breakfast. Unifor asked individuals to set the timer when they woke up, and see what they could do in six minutes. There were no winners.
There are other factors that make the situation even more dangerous.
But there are solutions.
In late 2017, MPP’s of every political stripe passed the Time To Care Act through second reading. This Bill would have delivered four hours of care to every resident, every day. This minimum, measurable, enforceable standard of care would ensure that staff to resident ratio’s are reduced to allow for safe care.
The Conservatives who voted for this Bill have forgotten that commitment. They talk about building more beds and refurbishing older homes, but this is simply giving their corporate friends handouts. For-profit corporations are given millions of tax dollars to build nursing homes, that in turn become assets of their business.
And ultimately, new beds are not enough.
The conditions of work are the conditions of care.
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