Letter Writing Campaign
Signed letters to politicians with personalized stories are a very effect way of getting support. Please feel free to copy the draft below and insert your own story. Send it to as many of the names on the list below as you wish; encourage your friends and acquaintences to do the same.
Help Improve Long Term Care in Ontario
Our loved ones deserve better. You can make a difference by joining our letter writing campaign targeting the government officials who make the decisions. Share an experience, relate a personal story and use the template below that includes the recommendations endorsed by Family Council Network 4 (the largest group of Family Councils in Ontario) and the Ontario Health Coalition.
Please send or email your letter to:
Premier Doug Ford
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1
With copies to:
The Honourable Christine Elliott, Minister, Health and Long-Term Care
Hepburn Block, 10th Floor, 80 Grosvenor Street, Toronto, ON M7A2C4,
Helen Angus, Deputy Minister, Health and Long-Term Care
Hepburn Block, 10th Floor, 80 Grosvenor Street, Toronto, ON M7A2C4
Robin Martin, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care
11th Floor, Hepburn Block, 80 Grosvenor Street, Toronto, ON M7A2C4
France Gélinas, NDP Critic, Health Care
Room 186, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A5
Teresa Armstrong, Critic Home and Long-Term Care and Seniors’ Affairs
Room 159, Main Legislative Building, Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A5
Marie-France Lalonde, Liberal Critic, Seniors' Issues
412-413, 111 Wellesley St W, Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
John Fraser, Liberal Critic Health and Long Term Care
Room 448, Main Legislative Building, Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2
Your local M.P.P
Here is a draft letter that you can use.
The Hon. Doug Ford
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Queen's Park
For many reasons, I am deeply concerned about the critical state of Long Term Care (LTC) in Ontario. Wait lists for LTC facilities have become unreasonably long. In 2008, government agreed to fund 2.8 hours of paid work per resident per day. In 2013, this is no longer an adequate standard of care for the health and well-being of LTC residents. Residents are being admitted with much higher physical, psychological and emotional needs, resulting in ever increasing workloads for the staff who provide direct care. Moreover, the training of the Personal Support Workers, who provide much of the care, is varied, inconsistent and under-regulated.
Let me give you a personal example. My mother/father/wife etc. …..
When we place a loved one in Long Term Care it is because we cannot care for him/her ourselves and we do so trusting that they will be treated with respect and dignity. However, with staff shortages and funding inadequacies, many residents have to wait an unacceptable amount of time for help in eating, receiving medications, toileting and other basic care. I urge the government to improve the situation by taking the following steps:
* Immediately increase the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day to 4.0 (as promised in the 2008/09 budget announcement).
* Develop a plan to phase in future increases so that by January, 2015 the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day is 5.0 hours.
* Establish a licensing body, such as a College, that will develop a process of Registration, Accreditation and Certification for all Personal Support Workers in Ontario.
Other provinces and other nations see the importance of investing in the well-being of their elderly who have no choice but to become dependent on Long Term Care. Consider how you would want your loved one, or you, yourself, to be treated. Please help vulnerable Ontario citizens live out their remaining days with dignity and comfort, free from the physical and mental pain and suffering caused by inadequate care.
As a concerned Ontario citizen and an advocate for my (parent/family member/spouse) and for all residents in Long Term Care, I am personally requesting your support to change the current situation by implementing the recommendations listed above as drafted and supported by the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee. I urge you to acknowledge the needs of our elder citizens by increasing the amount and the quality of direct care that they receive.
Please respond to my requests.
Resources For Family Council
There are lots of resources available on the Family Councils of Ontario website to help Family Councils with various issues, including:
- Family Council Manual “Your Guide to Starting and Maintaining a Family Council”
-Family Councils of Ontario recent newsletters:
- Family Councils of Ontario blogs about topics (such as):
o Achieving Quality Care in Long-Term Care
o Concrete ideas that can help your Council recruit new members!
o Culture Change: Family Councils transforming the LTC community into one where everyone thrives
o How to run a successful Family Council meeting
In addition, the following Resources for Family Councils – 2019 provides some links to other useful resource.
Family Councils of Ontario
http://www.concernedfriends.ca Concerned Friends
http://www.residentscouncils.ca Ontario Association of Residents’ Councils
– contact info for your MPP, etc.
http://www.health.gov.on.ca Ontario Ministry of Health and
FCN-4 Advocacy Committee
New Long-Term Care Homes Act (effective July 1, 2010)
Residents’ Bill of Rights – with explanation
Living Longer, Living Well
(by Dr. Samir Sinah)
http://www.lhins.on.ca Local Health Integration Networks (LHIN)
http://www.hnhblhin.on.ca LHIN 4 - Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant
Reports on LTC facilities in Ontario
Veterans Affairs Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca Health Canada – Federal Government Web Site: Seniors and Family-related issues and health topic updates (great for a Newsletter)
OLTCA: Ontario Long-Term Care Assoc.
http://www.advantageontario.ca AdvantAge Ontario (formerly OANHSS):
Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors
Health Quality Ontario
Ontario Health Coalition
https://clri-ltc.ca/ Ontario Centres for Learning, Research and Innovation in Long-Term Care
http://www.advocacycentreelderly.org Advocacy Centre for the Elderly
2 Carleton St. Suite 701, Toronto, ON M5B1J3 416-598-2656
http://www.cleo.on.ca/en/ Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
http://www.elderabuseontario.com/ Elder Abuse Ontario
formerly: Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA)
RNAO Best Practice Guidelines for
1-866-434-0144 Ministry Confidential ACTION Line:
To report abuse; complaints; concerns; questions about services
1-800-268-1154 INFOLINE (between 8:30 – 5:00pm)
1-877-234-4343 Free placement guides “What’s Right for Me?”
Ideas for Family Council Guest Speakers – 2019
Income Tax Advice for Seniors (living in LTC homes)
– from Revenue Canada
Dementia / Alzheimer Society
How to have a successful visit
Planning Ahead: Powers of Attorney / Wills / Public Trustees / etc.
Tai-Chi exercises for residents
Resident programs for a Wii entertainment system
Invite your local MPP to talk to Family Councils about LTC
(a few homes could meet together)
Invite your LTC home’s Doctor to speak about resident care
Speaker from CCAC
Updates from your LTC home’s Administrator, Activities Program, Dietician, Director of Nursing, etc.
Veterans Affairs Canada – What programs are available to assist?
Get together with another Family Council in your area to share ideas about programs, activities.
Letter to Deb Matthews
November 13, 2013
The Honourable Deborah Matthews,
Ministry of Health and Long Term Care,
10th Floor, Hepburn Block
80 Grosvenor Street,
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 2C4.
Dear Minister Matthews:
The Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee is responsible for a petition circulated throughout the province, signed by over 12000 citizens and tabled 18 times in the Ontario Legislature. It asks that the government of Ontario fulfil promises made in 2008 to improve care for residents in long term care homes.
Your response to the MPPs who tabled this petition did not address any of our concerns nor did it give any indication that such improvements will be considered in the future.
Through our petition and on-going campaign, we are urging the government to
· immediately increase the number of hours of hands on care to 4 hours per day per resident, as promised in 2008
· increase that number to 5 hours by January 2015
· focus on training and establish a licensing body or college with common educational standards to prepare PSWs for the important work that they do.
Dr. Samir Sinha, in his report Living Longer Living Well, created at your request for an Ontario Seniors Strategy, deemed it crucial to provide access to the right care at the right time and in the right place. We are very far from that ideal.
Our most vulnerable citizens deserve to be cared for in a safe, comfortable, home-like environment. 1
We appreciate the efforts that you and your colleagues in the Provincial Parliament of Ontario have made but we are now calling on you and this Government to deliver on promises made.
Attached you will find a report which deals with your response to our petition in greater detail.
On behalf of the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee
1 Preamble to the Long-term Care Homes Act,
Cc. Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario,
Mr. Bas Balkinssoon, MPP
Ms. Christine Elliott, MPP
Mr. Victor Fedeli, MPP
Mr. K. D. Flynn, MPP
Madame France Gelinas, MPP
Mr. Michael Mantha, MPP
Mr. Jim McDonell, MPP
Mr. Paul Miller, MPP
Mr. Michael Prue, MPP
Mr. Jonah Schein, MPP
Ms. Andrea Horwath, MPP
Mr. Tim Hudak, MPP
Family Council Network 4 (FCN-4) ADVOCACY COMMITTEE
November 13, 2013
The majority of long-term care residents cannot speak for themselves and need advocates.
Ontario's Family Councils (made up of the families and friends of those in long-term care) ARE the voice of the voiceless.
Our Group, the Family Council Network 4 (FCN-4) Advocacy Committee, was responsible for a petition tabled 18 times by Members of the Provincial Parliament, and signed by over 12,000 Ontario citizens, asking the government to fulfil the promises it made in 2008 to improve care to 78,000 people living in Long-Term Care Homes.
The Honourable Deb Matthews, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long Term Care, responded to this petition. We are disappointed that she did not address our stated issues and did not respond to our concerns regarding the critical situation in Ontario's long-term care homes. Our vulnerable citizens, our loved ones, are
at risk because of inadequate levels of care and overworked, poorly trained and supported workers. Our research identified two consistent, major areas of concern in long-term care:
Inadequate Direct Care (Insufficient time and staff, to feed, bathe, dress, toilet, residents, monitor movements, etc.) Government funding currently provides 2.8 paid worked hours per resident per day. In 2008, an increase to 4.0 hours was promised for 2012, but was never delivered.
The training of Personal Support Workers (PSWs) across the Province. Currently, training is varied, inconsistent and unregulated.
In her response, the Minister states:
1. "On May 19, 2011, the Ministry announced the creation of a PSW Registry as a means of better recognizing the work PSWs do for Ontarians. ......As of March 2012, there are approximately 20,000 PSWs who have applied to be registered with the Registry. The PSW Registry continues to take incremental steps to enhance the function of the Registry ...... The Ministry is also working towards a mandatory registration policy for PSWs who provide publicly-funded personal support service in the home and community sectors."
This Registry is at best a very small first step and does nothing to ensure that the staff who care for our loved ones is properly trained. The application sheet reads as follows:
In its current formulation, this Registry serves no purpose. It does not “Establish a licensing body, such as a college, that will develop a process of registration, accreditation and certification for all Personal Support Workers” as we requested in our Petition. The current research supports our request. Dr. Samir Sinha** recently presented the Ontario government with a comprehensive report, Living Longer, Living Well. The recommendations cover health and wellness, social services, and community living for older Ontarians.
Dr. Sinha's key recommendations include the following:
• The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should provide more support to its Personal Support Worker (PSW) workforce by strengthening its new PSW Registry by requiring mandatory registration, requiring a common educational standard for all future registrants, and developing a complaints process that can protect the public and the profession.
• The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, in collaboration with the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, should support the preparedness of all future health and social care providers to meet the evolving care needs of older Ontarians by requiring that core training programs in Ontario for physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, social workers, pharmacists, physician assistants, paramedics, personal support workers, and other relevant health and social care providers should include relevant content and clinical training opportunities in geriatrics.
2. On May 16, 2012 the ministry announced that over the next three years, Ontario will help 90,000 more seniors get the care they need to live comfortably in their homes by adding three million more hours of personal support worker care. Having the support of PSWs enables seniors, people with physical disabilities and those with complex needs live independently at home – rather than in a hospital or long-term care home. Increasing PSW hours ensures access to the right care at the right time, and in the right place.
This is a wonderful initiative, but it does not address the needs of 78,000 residents who are already in LTC homes. It does not address the needs of 35,000 others who are on long waiting lists and need beds in long-term care because of complex health issues and behavioural challenges. Residents are being admitted to LTC homes with much higher physical, psychological and emotional needs. Even the very best home care possible won’t eliminate the need for LTC. Caring for an incontinent senior with dementia and various physical limitations is a 24 hour job 7 days a week. The reality is that there will always be a need for LTC homes, no matter how much money we put into home care. In addition this equates to only 0.64 hours or 38 minutes of care per senior per week, which is hardly sufficient to keep them “living comfortably in their homes”
Moreover, an investment in better home care will not keep our loved ones safe. The recent murder in a LTC facility has alerted the general public to the dangers of understaffing and inadequate training. We are failing our vulnerable elderly residents. We are endangering their lives and making their final days – a misery. We are very far from the ideal of providing access to the right care at the right time and in the right place.
3. The ministry created Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) to respond to the needs of individuals with challenging and complex behaviours wherever they live, at home, in long-term care (LTC) or elsewhere to mitigate the strain for their families, healthcare professionals, and the healthcare system. The ministry is committed to working with the LHINs to ensure that LTC homes and community providers sustain their BSO health human resource capacity, including PSWs, to meet the needs of individuals with challenging and complex behaviours.
The BSO program is a consultative process to help staff deal with residents with behavioural issues. This is another good initiative but it does not provide additional staff in long-term care homes. It doesn’t address the previous commitment that the government made to “Immediately increase the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day to 4.0 hours (as promised in 2008)” and as we requested in our Petition. It does not address the need to increase the amount of direct hands-on personal care time. There are insufficient numbers of support staff to assist our loved ones with the necessities of daily living (eating, toileting, dressing, etc.) and to protect them from harm.
4. Since 2010/11, the ministry has invested approximately $58.5M in BSO to support the redesign of service delivery across the province and the hiring of staff resources. $43.5M of the $58.5M is invested in health human resources which include specialized nurses, PSWs, and other healthcare professionals.
Any additional investment to services in this area is positive, but is this new funding, or simply money taken from elsewhere and “shuffled” into long term care? It does not address any of the points raised in our Petition. Moreover, the escalation in incidents of reported abuse spotlights the need for an increase in direct care hours to monitor and protect residents. There are also issues with the compliance department of the ministry and the lack of follow-up with the LTC facilities that have failed to protect the residents in their care. Significant new funds are required in order to meet these needs.
5. In January 2013, the ministry announced base funding of $3.5M to support the training and recruitment of PSWs allowing LHINs to fund PSW salaries from the previously established 2008 level of $40,000 to current levels. After meeting their FTE targets, the LHINs can use this funding for training BSO staff.
How far does this commitment go towards our request to “Develop a plan to phase in future increases so that the number of paid hours per resident per day of nursing and personal care is 5.0 hours by January, 2015” as we requested in our Petition? The Ministers response seems convoluted, and makes no commitment to address an actual increase in hands on care through increased staffing levels.
Many jobs in LTC are part-time and even some full-time positions are poorly paid. The current situation negatively impacts the consistency and quality of care.
6. Since 2003 there are 10,000 more staff in LTC homes and we continue to work towards enhancing the care and services provided to residents in LTC homes. As part of the commitment made in Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care, released January 2012, the government is developing a Seniors Strategy to build on investments and the need for improvements in LTC.
Any increase in staffing totals is positive but statistics should be reviewed and evaluated in context. What are the total FTEs (Full Time Equivalents)? How do the numbers compare to the increase in LTC residents during this time period? How has the ministry factored in the increase in the acuity levels of the majority of LTC residents? What is the average number of direct hands-on personal care hours per resident per day in each LTC home now?
• Does the ministry have any data on this?
• If not, why not?
• If so, where is it published?
Family members and friends are missing critical and crucial information. We hope that you will join us in asking these important questions. We hope that you will join us in shining a light on the needs of our loved ones. We do not want our friends and family members to be considered disposable because they are old or sick. We hope that you will support our request for better care. Our advocacy work has the support of the Ontario Health Coalition, the Gerontological Nurses Association of Ontario, OPSAWA (personal support workers) and many other groups and organizations.
Through our petition and on-going campaign, we are urging the government to:
1. Immediately increase the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident to 4.0 as promised in 2008.
2. By January 2015 increase the number of these hours to 5.0 per day.
3. Establish a licensing body to develop a process of registration, accreditation and certification for all PSWs.
We are asking you and your colleagues in the Provincial Parliament of Ontario to deliver on promises made. Our most vulnerable citizens deserve to be cared for in a safe, comfortable, home-like environment.1
We have prepared a list of research studies which support our petition. This is available for your reference on request to the undersigned.
Thank you for your support.
On behalf of Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee
1 Preamble to the Long-Term Care Homes Act
** Dr. Samir Sinha
Director of Geriatrics at Mount Sinai and the University Health Network hospitals in Toronto since 2011. Dr . Sinha is a Rhodes Scholar with a Master's in Medical History and a PhD in sociology, both from Oxford, and a fellowship in geriatrics from Johns Hopkins.
Dr. Sinha is Canadian-born and comes from a family of doctors. Both his Indian parents are doctors in Winnipeg, his older brother is a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins. His maternal great-grandfather was surgeon-general in Uttar Pradesh (one of the Indian States.)
At Mount Sinai, he has transformed the way health care is delivered to those aged 65 and up to allow many of these to return home to live independently and with the highest quality of life.
Seeing this success, Deb Matthews, Ontario Health Minister, in Spring 2012, invited him to lead Ontario's "Seniors Care Strategy". Dr. Sinha's report, "Living Longer, Living Well" forms the framework of the new Seniors Care Strategy. It covers health and wellness, social services and community living and was delivered before Christmas 2012.
SCRIPT FOR MAKING CONTACT WITH YOUR MEMBER OF THE PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT, EITHER IN PERSON, OR BY TELEPHONE
Our loved ones in LTC deserve better. YOU can make a difference by contacting your local MPP and sharing your concerns, either in person or by phone. Your message needs to be that our loved ones matter, and you can do that by sharing an experience or by relating a personal story.
To help you get started, we have prepared some suggestions to maximize the impact of your telephone conversation. Please be sure you mention that you support the recommendations endorsed by Family Council Network 4 (the largest network of Family Councils in Ontario). You can reach your local MPP at either his/her parliamentary or constituency office and the best day to make this contact is on Friday, or when parliament is NOT in session.
Check this link for contact information and phone numbers.
If your MPP isn't available, ask to speak to his/her Chief of Staff.
Ask when your MPP will be available.
Leave your name and number for a call back.
Identify yourself as a constituent and a member of Family Council.
Ask to speak to your local MPP about LTC, an issue that is important to you and the community.
OUTLINE THE ISSUE
Long-Term Care (LTC) is approaching a crisis in Ontario and we fear for our loved ones. We, the Family Councils of the Province of Ontario, are the family members and friends of those who live in Long-Term Care Homes. We are the advocates and the voice of these residents many of whom cannot speak for themselves and others who fear to do so). We are asking for your help to improve the quality of care and the quality of life of these 75,000 Ontario citizens.
WHAT NEEDS TO BE ADDRESSED
For many reasons, I am deeply concerned about the critical state of Long-Term Care (LTC) in Ontario.
Wait lists for LTC facilities have become unreasonably long.
In 2008 the Ontario government agreed to fund 2.8 hours of paid work per resident per day. In 2014 this is no longer an adequate standard of care for the health and well-being of LTC residents. Residents are being admitted with much higher physical, psychological and emotional needs, resulting in ever-increasing workloads for the staff who provide direct care.
The training of the Personal Support Workers, who provide much of the care, is varied, inconsistent and under-regulated.
Let me give you a personal example. My mother/ father/ wife/ etc. .......
When we place a loved one in Long-Term Care it is because we cannot care for him/her ourselves and we do so trusting that they will be treated with respect and dignity. However, with staff shortages and funding inadequacies, many residents have to wait an unacceptable amount of time for help in eating, receiving medications, toileting and other basic care.
OUR FAMILY COUNCIL RECOMMENDATIONS
I urge the government to improve the situation by taking the following steps:
Immediately increase the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day to 4.0 (as promised in the 2008/09 budget announcement).
Develop a plan to phase in future increases so that by January 2015 the number of paid hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day is 5.0.
Establish a licensing body, such as a College, that will develop a process of Registration, Accreditation and Certification for all Personal Support Workers in Ontario.
We are concerned for the safety and well-being of our loved-ones. The recent media attention to abuse and murder in LTC has alerted the general public to the dangers of under-staffing and inadequate training. Ontario is failing our vulnerable elder residents. We are endangering their lives and making their final days -- a misery! Consider how you would want your loved one, or you yourself, to be treated. Please help vulnerable Ontario citizens live out their remaining days with dignity and comfort, free from the physical and mental pain and suffering caused by inadequate care.
WHAT WE ARE ASKING THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT TO DO
As a concerned Ontario citizen and an advocate for my (parent/ family member/spouse/ friend/ etc.) and for all residents in Long-Term Care, I am personally ...... requesting your support to change the current situation by implementing the recommendations identified by the Family Council Network 4 Advocacy Committee and incorporated in a petition signed by over 20,000 concerned citizens. This petition has already been tabled 22 times in the Ontario Legislature.
We are asking the Members of the Provincial Parliament of Ontario to work together to make improvements to Long-Term Care a top priority for Ontario and achieve a better quality of life for our vulnerable citizens.
P-36 is the number of the Petition we have presented to the Ontario Legislature and the following chart shows the dates on which it has been tabled and dates on which the Legislature has returned a response.
No. P-36 Personal Support Workers
Member Date tabled Date of response
Mr. Balkissoon March 5, 2013 May 1, 2013
Mrs. Elliott June 11, 2013 September 27, 2013
Mr. Fedeli June 3, 2013 September 27, 2013
Mr. Fedeli April 10, 2014
Mr. Flynn October 30, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. Gates April 17, 2014
Mme Gélinas March 18, 2013 May 1, 2013
Mme Gélinas November 25, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. Mantha May 27, 2013 September 9, 2013
Mr. Mantha June 3, 2013 September 27, 2013
Mr. Mantha June 5, 2013 September 27, 2013
Mr. Mantha October 3, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. McDonell May 27, 2013 September 9, 2013
Mr. McDonell June 3, 2013 September 27, 2013
Mr. McDonell September 11, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. McDonell September 19, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. McDonell October 22, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. McDonell November 6, 2013 December 3, 2013
Mr. Miller March 18, 2013 May 1, 2013 (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek)
Mr. Prue March 18, 2013 May 1, 2013
Mr. Schein March 18, 2013 May 1, 2013