The nursing home horror story of a Sudbury woman was highlighted by Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath at Queen's Park last week.
Horwath is demanding the Liberal government immediately expand the scope of the Wettlaufer inquiry to include systemic issues in long-term care that families say are devastating seniors in care homes throughout the province — understaffing, underfunding, and a lack of standards of care.
“This summer, a woman named Mira came to Queen’s Park to tell the Liberal government about the tragic circumstances of her mother’s long-term care facility in Sudbury,” said Horwath.
“Mira told us about finding her mom after almost 17 hours in bed. No one had fed her, no one had helped her reach the bathroom, no one had even shifted her body so she didn’t get bed sores. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the awful stories loved ones tell about family members in care.”
Horwath also told the legislature about Windsor resident Margo, whose father has been slipping by the rarely staffed front entrance in his long-term care home to wander around Windsor on his own.
She talked about a woman in Georgian Bay, whose dad was admitted to hospital with an infection and wasn’t supposed to be released back home without round-the-clock care, which the family couldn’t provide, but was forced out, against doctor’s orders, in order to get on the wait-list for long-term care.
Horwath's push to investigate and address the long-term care crisis in Ontario would be done in two phases, said a press release.
The first will focus on the murders committed by Elizabeth Wettlaufer, and the second will take a broad look at issues like underfunding, hours of hands-on care for residents including overall staffing levels, enforcement policies, care protocols and the 30,000-person wait-list.
“We need a find-and-fix approach,” said Horwath. “We need to take a broad look at seniors care in Ontario through an in-depth inquiry, and when we find a problem, we need to actually do something to fix it, immediately, so that families can rest assured that their loved ones are getting the best care possible.”
Horwath has committed that an NDP government would immediately broaden the scope of the Wettlaufer inquiry to include systemic issues in long-term seniors care, the press release said.
“If the Wynne Liberals won’t do this, the NDP will,” said Horwath. “This is about the well-being, health and dignity of our parents and grandparents and the NDP won’t shy away from the problems in the system."