For years, Ontario’s Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) have advocated for changes to long-standing issues plaguing the province’s long-term care (LTC) sector.
Ontario’s Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission’s report highlights how pervasive recruitment and retention issues, inconsistent application of infection prevention and control (IPAC) practices, and a lack of clear public health guidance to the sector exacerbated the already dire situation in the province’s long-term care homes.
“We are pleased to see many of the concerns, specifically the critical staffing shortages that RPNs have been calling attention to for years, underscored in the Commission’s findings and recommendations,” said Dianne Martin, CEO, WeRPN. “This report acknowledges the complexity and challenges of the health care needs of residents and the need to make significant investments to support the level of care residents need and deserve. Going forward, we must ensure any proposed reform to Ontario’s LTC leverages the knowledge and experience of Ontario RPNs. We also hope to see the government put in place more mental health supports for residents and staff who urgently need them after a year of living through a crisis in this sector.”
We are especially encouraged by the recommendations outlined in the report that call for: increasing the number of full-time staff positions; supporting staff so they do not have to attend work while sick; enhancing education and compensation, and increasing accountability and transparency in the LTC sector.
WeRPN looks forward to working with the government and our health care partners on the implementation of these recommendations. In late 2020, the government committed to enhancing the daily average hours of direct care that each resident receives. This is a welcome commitment and a positive step toward ensuring Ontario’s LTC residents get the care they need. This report, however, highlights that further action is necessary to ensure Ontario’s most vulnerable seniors receive the care they deserve. Ontario’s RPNs are ready and committed to support in that action.