TORONTO, Mar. 16, 2013 – The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is calling for an inquiry into this week’s (March 13) death of a resident at a Scarborough nursing home. “Nothing short of an independent investigation will uncover the circumstances and systemic issues that led to this outrageous tragedy. That’s why we demand that the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (MOHLTC), or the Coroner’s Office, launch an independent public investigation into what happened -- and what actions must be immediately taken to prevent another tragedy in a long-term care home in Ontario,” says Rhonda Seidman-Carlson, President of RNAO.
RNAO is also demanding that Premier Kathleen Wynne include in the upcoming budget a substantial increase in funding for registered nursing staff in all long-term care homes. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, Ontario spent less per capita in 2012 on “other institutions” than all but two other provinces or territories (B.C. and Alberta). Ontario only spent 58.3 per cent of what the leading province, Manitoba, spent per capita.
For over a decade, RNAO has submitted numerous reports to MOHLTC that outline urgent actions that must be taken to improve the staffing levels in long-term care homes. Seidman-Carlson says a key recommendation has been to ensure funding for the right number of registered nursing staff and the right skill mix of health professionals overall, including that homes have access to nurse practitioners to ensure faster assessment and treatment actions.
RNAO says the province has an obligation to the families and to seniors who seek shelter in long-term care. “It is disingenuous to say we all care about our seniors, and yet fail again and again to protect the safety of nursing home residents, not to mention tackling our health-care system’s capacity to care for people with cognitive and behavioural challenges,” says Dr. Doris Grinspun, RNAO’s Chief Executive Officer.
For interviews call Marion Zych, RNAO’s Director of Communications at 647-406-5605 (cell).
The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has advocated for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.