Long Term Care Forum
Submission on Behalf of the Kingston Health Coalition
22 February 2001
The Kingston Health Coalition is a community coalition
made up of individuals and organizations committed to maintaining and enhancing
our publicly funded, public administered health care system.
This coalition has grave concerns about the future of
Long Term Care in this province under the current provincial government. Though
the government has promised consultations with the public - they have yet to
materialize. So the Kingston Health Coalition will take this opportunity to
share with you recommendations we seriously urge the government to adopt to
ensure that individuals and families in this province have access to care which
meet their needs and the needs of their families.
- First off, the Long Term Care / Community Care system
must be publicly funded, administered and delivered.
- People are entitled to receive quality care where
and when they need. This care should be available from the public system,
whether it is delivered at home, in the community or other facilities. All
care plans must be based on the needs of the patients - we can not be
satisfied with a system which only allows care while funding permits. All
care plans must meet the patient's needs - period! As such the act must
clearly outline that those who use Long Term Care / Community Care have the
right to full written information which states includes the act's bill of
rights, eligibility criteria, hours of care available, and their care plan.
Furthermore, all patients have the right to be consulted with and agree to
their plan of care.
- There must be clear accountability by all parties
involved in organizing, delivering, and regulating Long Term / Community Care.
The obligations of the government include funding, regulating and setting
standards and ongoing monitoring. The bottom line is the government is
ultimately responsible for Long Term Care Services - therefore a mechanism
must be in place to hold the government accountable. And to truly ensure a
meaningful process there needs to be full disclosure in a transparent manner.
- There must be a user-friendly enforcement
mechanism for those who feel their rights have been violated. The
establishment of a Long Term Care Appeal Board to review complaints must be
fully independent from the government. All issues before the Board must be
dealt with in a timely, accessible, and confidential manner.
- Continuity of care is a critical issue for both
patients and health care workers. Low wages, poor working conditions, and
weakened unions can have devastating effects on patient care as it is
difficult to retain and recruit trained staff. Fear is another factor
affecting the quality of care. As reported in "The Cost of Contracting out
Home Care: A Behind the Scenes Look at Home Care in Ontario" the competitive
bidding process creates a climate of fear among workers. They are reluctant to
criticize Community Care Access Centre's policies on patient care for fear of
repercussions when submitting future bids. It is important for any Long Term
Care Act to include Whistle-blowing legislation to protect healthcare workers
who report situations which compromise patient care, unethical and dangerous
practices or illegal activities. In addition to Whistle-blowing legislation,
successor rights are essential to retain capable health care workers in the
Long Term / Community Care system and to ensure workers are treated in a fair
and just manner. Successor Rights allow workers to move with the work - so if
beds move from one facility to another - workers have the opportunity to move
with them and be able to retain their salary and conditions of employment.
Successor rights supports the ongoing retention and recruitment of qualified
competent health care workers. And finally I would like to mention the
injustice of the annual pay equity cap put in place by the current provincial
government. The majority of workers in the long term care / community care
system are women. This cap means that many women will be cheated out of pay
equity adjustments which would bring their salaries on line. The government
must remove the cap and ensure private sector employers meet these
In closing, I urge other groups and individuals to make
their voices heard on this matter. Ensure that long term / community care is a
publicly funded, administered and delivered system which meets patient's needs
in an accountable and fair manner to patients and health care workers.