CORNWALL, Ontario – A protest took place outside of Progressive Conservative MPP Jim McDonell’s office on Monday, Oct. 4 asking his government to provide better support to long term care facility employees and patients.
“One of the most insidious aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic was that they closed the doors to long term care facilities,” said Cornwall City Councillor Elaine MacDonald who served as MC of the event.
MacDonald cited a Canadian Department of National Defense report from May of 2020 that stated that at that time 77 per cent of all COVID-19 related deaths were long term care facility residents.
Janice Heath is a retired Registered Practical Nurse (RPN) who has taught Personal Care Workers (PSW)s in Cornwall and said that a typical PSW working in a long term care home is responsible for 12 patients and distributing dozens of different medications.
“The model of care is all task oriented,” she said. “We should be spending more time with people.”
The protesters were asking the provincial government to provide the funding to allow long term care facilities to have PSWs spend four hours of care per resident, per day.
“We need to take the profit out of long term care and put the care back in long term care,” said Bonnie Lauzon, another speaker at the protest.
The protesters were also asking for surprise inspections of long term care homes and lifting the liability protections for long term care providers that do not provide adequate care.
“Talk to Jim McDonell,” Louise Lanctot, President of the Cornwall District Labour Council urged the crowd. “He may not listen, but he may get tired of hearing the same story.”
“There is no hope this government will ever change,” she added.