Annamie Paul, Canada’s Green party leader, demands changes on how long-term care (LTC) facilities are managed to be better prepared against future hygienic crises, and to set better standards across Canada.
‘We need action now‘
LTC facilities were the areas hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada. This tragedy shined a light on Canada’s outdated mismanagement of LTC facilities and outraged Canadians across the country. In a recent statement, Annamie Paul mentions that although things are getting better in the midst of the pandemic, Canada should not wait for another crisis to implement crucial changes to these facilities.
Following the lack of action from the Liberal government on this matter, Annamie Paul and the Green Party of Canada call specifically for a plan that would enhance the management of LTC facilities and move away from profit-centered practices. Their proposed plan includes the following actions:
- Increasing and stabilising staffing in LTC homes and improving training, fair pay for workers and paid sick leave;
- Taking the profit out of LTC facilities and reorienting long-term care towards community-based models;
- Setting a national standard of four hours of regulated care per day for each LTC resident;
- Ensuring safe family access to LTC facilities;
- Invest in training and education to support ongoing professional development and specialization for LTC workers;
- Enforcing standards of care through accountability and penalties, including criminal prosecution;
- Shifting LTC policy towards community care, such as naturally occurring retirement communities, co-housing models, and enhanced home support programs.
Not a partisan issue
Annamie Paul states that this issue is not political, it is basic human decency to provide better care for our elders: “Can we honestly call ourselves a caring society if we are not prepared to care for those who built it? The kind of transformative investment we need right now is one that will ensure that our seniors, and those who care for them, are treated in the best possible way.”
As a society, Canada needs to be better in areas that concern its seniors. In Paul’s view, the pandemic revealed the extent to which seniors have been put to the side when discussing long-term investments and policy issues in Canada.
This statement is corroborated by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The CIHI published a study recently, presenting its findings on the conditions that LTC facilities faced during the first six months of the pandemic. In their study, they find concrete evidence that LTC facilities were disproportionately hit by the pandemic and that they received less medical care during the first wave of the pandemic than they did the years before. The CIHI study suggests that Canada needs a structural change in how it manages LTC facilities.
Paul echoes this statement when she calls for an efficient overhaul of LTC practices: “We urgently need short- and long-term strategies that take a holistic approach to elder care in Canada. The lack of a national plan and insufficient investment in LTC in the 2021 Liberal budget, was one of the principal reasons that Greens voted against it. […] It’s time to acknowledge that we collectively as a society have failed our most vulnerable, but moving forward we will not.”