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Prisoners fed better than ailing seniors

BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN A petition is being circulated in Greater Sudbury nursing homes asking the provincial government to increase the amount of money spent on food for long-term care residents.
Finlandia_Food
Linda Cartier, a member of the family council at the Finlandia Nursing Home in Sudbury, is trying to get as many people as possible to sign the petition.

BY HEIDI ULRICHSEN

A petition is being circulated in Greater Sudbury nursing homes asking the provincial government to increase the amount of money spent on food for long-term care residents.

According to a report done last fall by the Dietitians of Canada, the province provides $5.46 per resident per day for food.
 
The organization recommends the amount spent on food should increase to $6.75 immediately and $7 by October.

Linda Cartier, a member of the family council at the Finlandia Nursing Home in Sudbury, is trying to get as many people as possible to sign the petition.

“I can't in my wildest dreams imagine how it's possible to feed people on that. That is for their three meals and their snacks. It doesn't seem logical,” she said.

“Part of the dilemma is that is in nursing homes, a lot of residents need special nutrition and agents put in their food so they're actually able to eat it.

"That complicates things all the more. The Dietitians of Canada have come out and said 'This is not enough to feed people properly'.”

Prisoners receive $7.09 per day for raw food costs, which is significantly higher than the amount spent on nursing home residents, she said.

People can sign the petition at local nursing homes, or they can contact Cartier at 525-7526 or [email protected] to get a copy. The deadline for signing the petition in April 20.

Cartier's mother, Lillian, is a resident of Finlandia.

“My mother suffers from dementia, so she does not communicate properly anymore,” said Cartier. “If she didn't like the food, she certainly couldn't let us know that.

"I haven't seen anything that I think is just horrid. They're doing the best they can with what they have.”

Cartier said nursing home staff support the petition.
 
“I know one of the other family council members went down to the office and discussed it with them. They definitely are interested in making things work a little bit better so they've got a bit more money to pay for food.”

Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care spokesperson David Jensen says the $5.46 per resident per day figure is actually the minimum amount the ministry expects nursing homes to spend on food.

He says in 2004, the average amount spent on food per nursing home resident was $5.75. When preparation is taken into account, that number jumps to $18.76 per resident per day.

Since January 2005, there has been a new regulation in effect that ensures all food served to nursing home residents must be approved by a dietitian.

“Certainly we see the value in getting advice from dietitians on the food that we provide to residents. We want them to have quality food,” said Jensen.


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