Activist & Pioneer Nurse
It’s Appalling Queens Park Continues to Disrespect Nurses
Article in Sunday, April 18, 2021 Toronto Star Editorial Section IN6
The Minister of health tells us they are adding hundreds of ICU beds and they will be redeploying staff into these areas. This is bad news for the people of Ontario, as beds are of no use without nurses.
This is the equivalent of the government giving you a shiny new car but guess what? No one has any gas. Nurses are not interchangeable robots – they work in specific clinical areas and develop specialized skills. Do you really want your obstetrician redeployed to do brain surgery? There would be more nurses if there were sufficient staff long before COVID and working conditions were improved. Experienced nurses are leaving. Shifts that last 14 hours with no food or bathroom breaks day after day, year after year and you are supposed to just suck it up because you care about the patients. You do the job until just can’t do it anymore.
And then the Ontario government offers you a 1-per-cent salary increase. Really?
Janice Walsh, Burlington ON
RN’s in Ontario are such a valuable resource suddenly, and they now want more to come work in Ontario. Successive Provincial governments in Ontario have been denying our undeniable value to the healthcare system for the last 15 years. Ye reap what you sow sadly.
Anne Clark (RN retired)
Highlights from Ann (April 2021)
Since this writing I have had quite a few emails with the nurses in Karawa, DR Congo about their celebration plans. We (the Paul Carlson Partnership) have sent money for new t-shirts with Florence Nightingale’s photo on the back side of the t-shirt and their school of nursing name on the front left.
The Medical Ambassador Volunteers are planning a trip September 1 – 17th, 2021 for continued training in preterm labor and the care of the premature infant. At that time we will have a Nurses Celebration dinner together and a pinning ceremony for the nurses joining the Christian Nurses Association of Congo. The Nurses of Congo are active and engaged!
We are grateful that Covid 19 has had minimal impact due to the shut down of air travel at the beginning. Currently Covax, COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the CoalitionWorld Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and others is reaching our friends deep in the Congo. We are excited and grateful to be able to safely travel to be with them in September.
The LTC report has been released April 28, 2021 highlighting conditions that have certainly caused the many unnecessary deaths of our seniors. The Minister of Health and Long Term Care, Merrilee Fullerton is under attack but certainly there has been poor, unsafe conditions and understaffing for years prior.
Please see this link for the full report, but also see the brief pages Reflections and link from the Auditor General on the report.
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a challenge to health experts and government decision-makers around the world that in many ways is unprecedented in its impact and complexity. Ontario health experts, frontline workers and government decision-makers have worked together to respond to the many challenges of the pandemic and its health, economic and social impacts on Ontarians. By late March 2020, when COVID-19 had begun its ravage of long-term-care homes, it became blatantly obvious that aggressive infection prevention, detection and patient care actions were needed—and needed quickly—to prevent staggering death rates from becoming the norm across Ontario’s entire long-term-care community. Unfortunately, neither the Ministry of Long-Term Care, nor the long-term-care sector was sufficiently positioned, prepared or equipped to respond to the issues created by the pandemic in an effective and expedient way.
This is the subject of this report—Chapter 5: Pandemic Readiness and Response in Long-Term Care—one in a series of reports our Office has published on Ontario’s response to COVID-19. From a big-picture perspective, there were three underlying issues that made practical and timely action all the more challenging for the stakeholders involved. First, despite very specific observations and recommendations on preparing for future outbreaks made by the Expert Panel on SARS and Infectious Disease Control led by Dr. David Walker, the SARS Commission led by Mr. Justice Archie Campbell, our Office and others, actions taken over the years have been insufficient to ensure that we would be better prepared as a province for the ‘next time’. Secondly, ongoing and repeated concerns raised for well over a decade about systemic weaknesses in the delivery of long-term care to the elderly have not, for the most part, been adequately addressed. Thirdly and finally, the long-term care sector’s lack of integration within the healthcare sector, compounded by the timing of the reorganization of the healthcare sector, did not enable long-term-care homes to fully benefit from the needed lifesaving expertise in infection prevention and control that could have been provided to a much greater extent by public health units and hospitals.
This report contains 16 recommendations with 55 action items to address our audit findings. There should be no surprises in the content and recommendations in this report. Many of the issues and recommendations have either been highlighted or recommended previously by this Office, or were the subject of public discussions or publications amongst the various stakeholders we met with during our audit, as well as other interested groups and individuals. Given the longstanding nature of these issues and the risks of severe outcomes, there is a need to keep decision-makers’ attention focused on what needs to change, even though vaccines have helped to significantly reduce COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths in long-term care homes. Proactively implementing the recommendations in this report, in concert with similar recommendations likely contained in the upcoming report of the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission, would better prepare the Ministry and the long-term-care sector for the impact of future disease outbreaks and other significant and urgent care issues, on long-term-care home residents.
The province has committed to making improvements by increasing the provincial average direct care time provided per resident per day, and has committed to increasing beds available for long-term care. Steps are also being initiated to address personal support worker training requirements and update infection prevention and control requirements at long-term-care homes. Continued attention to the implementation of these commitments and additional recommendations would go a long way toward ensuring seniors living in Ontario’s long-term-care homes are accorded the well-deserved dignity, safety and comfort that is clearly envisioned in Section 1 of the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007.
More comments on the report and the recommendations will follow.