Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities

Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities Concerned Friends is dedicated to reform of the long-term care system and improvement of quality of life of life for residents. Every year our volunteers assist hundreds of families looking for help in choosing a long-term care home, or in resolving a problem within a home.
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We answer calls from across Ontario on our toll-free line. Our website has lots of helpful information about how the system works.We bring problems to the attention of the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care, and we partner with other organizations toward improving the lives of all long-term care residents. Since 1980 our work has been supported entirely by memberships and donations. If you would like to become a member, and receive our quarterly newsletter, sign up at our website (concernedfriends.ca).

Over the past little while, we've received many visits to our page and want to say welcome to our new followers! Check o...
09/19/2020
Home

Over the past little while, we've received many visits to our page and want to say welcome to our new followers! Check out our website at https://www.concernedfriends.ca for more information. We hope you continue to follow along as we share news about our happenings and how we can all do our part to improve the quality of care in LTC homes.

Trying to choose a long-term care facility? Looking for help in resolving a problem within a facility? We can help. Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you within 48 hours. Toronto area 416.489.0146 Toll-free 1.855.489.0146 About Advocacy Helpful Resources Family Councils Get

The pandemic has brought attention to many already existing inequalities in our society and LTC homes. Thankful for comm...
09/14/2020
The Pandemic Is Highlighting A Huge Disadvantage For LGBTQ Long-Term Care Residents

The pandemic has brought attention to many already existing inequalities in our society and LTC homes. Thankful for community organizations like The 519 and so many others that are working hard to make sure no one is left behind. Check out this article from Huffington Post Canada that also includes a message of hope for what some homes are doing to make a space inclusive for residents, staff and visitors.

“The residents are the ones that are ready to talk — but are people ready to listen?”

06/26/2020

It's been a thoughtful June with much reflection for #PrideMonth and #SeniorsMonth. We found this resource from Ontario CLRI to be helpful on ways to better inclusion in LTC homes: https://bit.ly/37VsXFP

Today, people from across the province rallied against the government's proposed #Bill175 that will make way for more pr...
06/25/2020
Health Coalition says new bill will lead to more privatization of home care

Today, people from across the province rallied against the government's proposed #Bill175 that will make way for more privatization of home care and long-term care. We applaud the Ontario Health Coalition for the efforts made in 12 cities today and stand with those against this bill. https://www.tbnewswatch.com/local-news/health-coalition-says-new-bill-will-lead-to-more-privatization-of-home-care-2515738

Read the full story and comment on Tbnewswatch.com

If you're looking for a way to get involved in our community,  consider joining us at Concerned Friends! We're looking f...
06/21/2020

If you're looking for a way to get involved in our community, consider joining us at Concerned Friends! We're looking for volunteers for various positions. Check out our website https://www.concernedfriends.ca/ or email the address below for more info.

There's a lot going on in the world, many issues that touch us close to the heart and home.Recently we co-signed this op...
06/09/2020

There's a lot going on in the world, many issues that touch us close to the heart and home.

Recently we co-signed this open letter to the Premier regarding the commission into long-term care homes in Ontario. We will continue to hold our leaders accountable to ensure positive and changed measures are made in long-term care homes.

OPEN LETTER TO DOUG FORD SIGNED BY MORE THAN 100 ORGANIZATIONS REPRESENTING MORE THAN 1.5 MILLION ONTARIANS

The Ontario Health Coalition sent an open letter to Premier Doug Ford signed by family councils, health professionals, social organizations, cultural organizations, seniors’ and retirees’ groups, health coalitions, legal clinics, and many others who collectively represent more than 1.5 million Ontarians. The letter is below.

If your organization wants to sign on it isn't too late; please email us at [email protected] with the subject line “Open Letter”. Individuals who do not represent an organization can help also. You can use this letter as a template to write your own and email it to [email protected] and please cc us in.

The letter can also be read on our website here: https://www.ontariohealthcoalition.ca/index.php/open-letter-open-letter-to-doug-ford-signed-by-100-orgs-1-5-million-ontarians-ltc-commission-immediate-measures/
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May 28, 2020

Dear Premier Ford,

While we are pleased that your government has committed to independence, non-partisanship and transparency with regards to the commission into long-term care and COVID-19, we are seeking some assurances regarding both this commission and the immediate measures needed that cannot wait for a commission. In addition, we believe that it is imperative that Ontario hold a full public commission or inquiry into the province’s overall response to COVID-19, like the SARS Commission, as there are many lessons to be learned from this experience beyond the long-term care sector.

To be clear, the Ontario Health Coalition called for the commission into long-term care to be under the Public Inquiry Act. You have voted against this in the Legislature. Failing that, Premier, we must state in the clearest possible terms that it will be unacceptable to the public if the commissioner(s) and any supporting staff are not fully independent of long-term care operators. Any long-term care commission must have unimpeachable credibility and operate in the public interest. This means it cannot be led or controlled by any partisan (political party) interests or by long-term care owners and operators. It must be transparent and open, not by invitation only. Access to the Commission must be equitable and it must allow for voices from families, residents, staff and their associations and unions, public interest groups and advocates who have worked closely on these issues. Care workers and professionals must be protected to speak on the record about conditions in the homes. Testimony and research must be on the record and fully available publicly as with formal commissions and inquiries in the past, and the commission must report as quickly as possible.

Further, this commission cannot delay immediate action being taken to stabilize and support the workforce to stop the COVID-19 outbreaks that continue to spread in long-term care homes across significant parts of Ontario. We need a coherent plan from your government to stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes, including concrete measures to improve PPE supply, workplace safety and infection control, and to stabilize the workforce. We urgently need your government to take leadership and concrete coordination measures to immediately address critical staffing shortages that mean even basic daily care like feeding, bathing, hygiene, human contact are not able to be done; that palliative care needs are not being met; that care for the gravely ill is less than what is needed, as follows:

• Understaffing in long-term care is critical and must be addressed. The provincial government cannot rely on long-term care homes in crisis to get themselves out of crisis. There must be a coherent plan, led by our government, to step in with a set of coordinated, concrete measures to get staff into the homes that have lost staffing levels due to sickness, having to choose one part-time job, staff leaving etc. Leaving it to the providers to forge voluntary arrangements among themselves is not sufficient. Staff need a permanent improvement to their wages and access to full-time hours. This cannot be voluntary and there is no path to stability without the provincial government undertaking these measures. In addition to the permanent improvements to wages and access to full-time work, measures are needed while homes’ operations remain under the emergency directives. Many staff have lost significant hours of work (and thus income) as a result of the requirement to choose one work site. They are risking their health and their families to go into the homes to do care work and the loss of hours is not offset by the pandemic pay increase. Yet some homes are bringing in PSW aides, nurses and others without giving their part-time staff any increase in hours. To address this, long-term care homes must be required to increase their pay for part-timers who have been required to give up part-time work in other homes to be equivalent to full-time pay and benefits, so as not to maintain the operator’s economic incentive to limit the proportion of care delivered by full time staff. Further, the Minister of Long-Term Care must use her powers to revoke licences and appoint new management in long-term care homes that have uncontrolled outbreaks and evidence of negligence and poor practices.
• Infection control practices, workplace safety and access to PPE must be improved. Reusing surgical masks patient after patient, resident after resident, would have been totally unacceptable before COVID-19. Insufficient access to N95 masks continues to be a problem and there are shortages of other equipment. There needs to be a clear plan from the government to improve the supply of PPE or develop our own. Leaving it to industry to do voluntarily has so far been insufficient. Standards for infection control and workplace safety must be improved. Staff need the appropriate equipment, enough supply and training in order to comply with them. Staff who are infected must be supported to isolate at home. The directive allowing health care facilities to require staff to work who have tested positive for COVID-19 but are asymptomatic is dangerous and should be changed as should the loopholes that fail to stop agency staff from working at more than one location. Ongoing training and support for infection control regarding the use of PPE are needed. Testing of all residents and staff must be ongoing in long-term care homes, and completed in retirement homes and congregate care facilities (and shelters). Testing, tracking and isolating people who test positive is shown to have stopped the spread of COVID-19 in other countries. It must happen here. Access to PPE using the precautionary principle must be implemented in long-term care, hospitals, home care and across the health care system as soon as possible.
• Testing, contact tracing and isolation must be improved using our province’s full public capacity. Public hospital laboratories that are not currently doing COVID-19 testing and have unused capacity should be ramping up testing. We need a clear honest plan from the provincial government that assesses our full capacity to test (including all the public hospitals, not just those that are currently testing) and immediately ramp up to our province’s real full capacity the testing, tracking and isolating to stop the spread of COVID-19. There must be a coherent plan and immediate action to get the supply or develop it for testing kits, swabs and reagents, and transparency about what is happening with this.
• Transfers to hospitals. Where there are long-term care homes in crisis without sufficient staff to provide proper palliative and end-of-life care, as well as being unable to address the general care requirements of the residents, residents should be considered for transfer to public hospitals, which are not in crisis, for safe and proper care, subject to their right to consent.
• Bring in family caregivers and volunteer nurses as soon as possible: As soon as testing/contact tracing capacity and PPE supply are stabilized enough to do so, and as soon as training in infection control can be properly conducted, primary family caregivers need to be able to be involved as partners in their families’ care. The pool of nurses that the RNAO has recruited to help should be utilized if they have not already been.
• Institute a minimum care standard in long-term care: There has been deep consensus for decades that the rising acuity (complexity and severity of the care needs) of long-term care residents requires more care. This cannot be left to operators to do on their own, and resources -- both financial and human -- need to be provided to support this. There cannot be further delay in beginning to move to a 4-hour average minimum care level for residents in long-term care to protect their safety and the safety of staff.

Premier, we are also deeply concerned about our research finding that the death rates in for-profit homes are significantly higher than in non-profit homes. It is imperative that your government halt any expansion of for-profit long-term care. We will follow up with your office regarding these issues and look forward to your response.

Cordially,

Natalie Mehra
Executive Director

and

Ross Sutherland
Chairperson

Ontario Health Coalition

The following organizations representing more than 1.5 million Ontarians have signed onto this letter in support:

ARCH Disability Law Centre
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE)
Bowmanville Nurses Association
Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP)– Essex Chapter
Canadian Federation of University Women, Stratford
Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union (COPE) l. 96
Canadian Union of Public Employees Ontario (CUPE Ontario)
- CUPE l. 786
- CUPE Council (Niagara Region)
- CUPE l. 4207
Care Watch Ontario
Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) Kingston
Community Elder Abuse Prevention Committee of Thunder Bay
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities
Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC)
- South Central Ontario Branch
- Hamilton Burlington Oakville
- Thunder Bay
- Toronto and York Region Council
Council of Canadians
- Council of Canadians – Hamilton Chapter
Council on Monetary and Economic Reform (COMER) Kingston
Decent Work and Health Network
Downsview Community Legal Services
Family Councils
- Algoma Family Council Coalition
- Cedarvale Lodge Retirement Community, Keswick
- Champlain Region Family Council Network
- Family Councils Collaborative Alliance (FCCA)
- Family Councils of Region 4 Advocacy Committee
- Grand Family Council for the City of Sudbury
- John Noble Home, Brantford
- Linhaven Family Council, St Catharines
- Macassa Lodge, Hamilton
- North East Family Council Network
- Park Lane Terrace Nursing Home
- Shepherd Lodge Family Council
- Shalom Village
- St. Peter’s Residence at Chedoke Family Council
- Village of Humber Heights
Hamilton Community Legal Clinic
Health Providers Against Poverty
Image Promotions Inc.
Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition (ISARC)
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW)
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) l. 636
Latin American Canadian Solidarity Association
Municipal Retirees Organization of Ontario (MROO)
National Pensioners Federation
Network of Women with Disabilities (NOW)
Niagara Poverty Reduction Network
Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) Action Coalition
Older Women’s Network (OWN)
Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU)
Ontario Health Coalition (OHC)
- Chatham-Kent Health Coalition
- Hamilton Health Coalition
- Kawartha Lakes Health Coalition
- Kingston Health Coalition
- London Health Coalition
- Niagara Health Coalition
- Ottawa Health Coalition
- Peel Health Coalition
- Sarnia Lambton Health Coalition
- Thunder Bay Health Coalition
- Toronto Health Coalition
- University of Toronto Health Coalition
- Sudbury Health Coalition
- Windsor Health Coalition
- Wallaceburg-Walpole Island Health Coalition
Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL)
- Kingston and District Labour Council
- Lindsay and District Labour Council
- London and District Labour Council
- Niagara Regional Labour Council
- Peterborough and District Labour Council
- Windsor and District Labour Council
Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR)
Ontario Nurses’ Association
- ONA l. 75
Ontario Secondary School Teacher’s Federation
- OSSTF – Association of Retired Members Chapter 11 Thames Valley
- OSSTF ARM Toronto (Chapter 12)
- OSSTF ARM Niagara (Chapter 22)
Oxford Coalition for Social Justice
Oxford County Voices for Education
Peel Poverty Action Group
Poverty Free Thunder Bay
Protecting ODSP OW Funding (POOF)
Raging Grannies
- Toronto
- Ottawa
Ralph Thornton Community Centre
Retired Teachers of Ontario (RTO) District 43 Nipissing
Seniors’ Health Advisory Committee Sault Ste. Marie and Algoma District
Shelter and Housing Justice Network
Socialist Project
Social Justice Network of Antler River Watershed Region
St. Athanasius Anglican Church Orillia
Steelworkers Organization of Active Retirees (SOAR)
- Chapter 80
- Chapter 16-6
Street Nurses Network
The Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians
Thunder Bay and District Injured Workers’ Support Group
Trillium United Church Social Concerns and Outreach Team
Unifor
- Unifor l. 222
- Unifor l. 222 Retired Workers’ Chapter
- Unifor l. 27
United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) l. 175 & l. 633
United Steelworkers (USW) District 6
- USW Toronto Council
Voice of the Elderly
Waterloo Regional Council of Retirees
Worker’s Action Centre

Concerned Friends applauds Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care for announcing today that the provincial gover...
05/19/2020
Ontario Announces Independent Commission into Long-Term Care

Concerned Friends applauds Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care for announcing today that the provincial government will be launching an independent commission into Ontario's long-term care system beginning in September.

https://news.ontario.ca/mltc/en/2020/05/ontario-announces-independent-commission-into-long-term-care.html

TORONTO — Today, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, issued the following statement in response to the impact of COVID-19 in Ontario's long-term care homes:

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Comments

Your LTC Home checklist includes a mention of Risk-focused RQI vs an Intensive Risk-focused RQI as it relates to the MOHLTC's framework. How do use this information to my advantage while doing research?
its easy to blame LTC and despite the issues. pointing out negative outcomes serves NO PURPOSE. families can be just as problematic and moreso!!! by the followinG example - when families are divided by self serving needs. what do you think of a family member who posts pictures of the elderly parents on a GOFUNDME page!!! misrepresenting the truth. AS THE FAMILY MEMBER IS TRYING TO RAISE MONEY for his own court costs cuz he has no money - and uses the parents fotos to further his cause. the mother has passed away. the father has dementia - incapaciated - has NO CLUE hes being splattered on this page without his consent. the foto is being misused and have never been on social media before but now the family member has disgraced the parents by using their fotos this way. the family member was NOT SELECTED AS POA due to years of irresponsible behaviours - and years away from home.
If any of you are sympathetic to the cause check out my support group here on FB "Support Group for Families and Friends in LTC and Nursing Homes" and please my Go Fund Me page to get my dad out of the broken down system.
Is there anyone else from Northwestern Ontario?