COVID-19 swept through long-term care (LTC) homes early, taking the lives of over 5,000 residents across Canada by late May and devastating thousands of family members and loved ones. It continues to break out in LTC homes in many jurisdictions across this country causing preventable deaths and deep grief.
These 5,000-plus deaths represented over 80 per cent of all COVID-19-related deaths in Canada. To our shame, the failure of Canada’s long-term care sector to keep its residents safe from COVID-19 stands out among wealthy Western nations. Across other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, the average percentage of COVID-19-related deaths among nursing home residents was less than half of Canada’s. While every province and territory across our country needs to examine its own performance through this pandemic, it is clear that we have fallen devastatingly short as a nation. This is a national failing that cries out for a national response.
What needs to be done has been set out over and over again, in report after report. RNAO’s own Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee reflects an emerging consensus of experts across Canada of what needs to be done to protect LTC residents from COVID-19 and ensure they live in dignity and health thereafter.
We applaud the federal government for committing, in its September Speech from the Throne, to establish national standards for LTC. There is no time to lose. As we face a resurgence of COVID-19 across Canada, RNAO calls upon the federal government to act now on its commitment. National standards for LTC are long overdue and seniors are paying with their lives. Please join us! Let the Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know that Canada needs national standards for LTC now! Copies will be sent to the following:
Copy will be sent to the following: