Last week, I spoke with a concerned senior of Saanich-Gulf Islands about the ongoing crisis in long-term care homes, not only here in our community but across Canada. Read my response below:
Thank you for writing about the crisis in long term-care homes across Canada. I share all of your concerns. The treatment of our seniors is a national disgrace.
The tragic and avoidable deaths of so many seniors in long term care has revealed deep failures in the system. In most cases, understaffing and a lack of resources were already an issue which the pandemic brought to light. In others, the pandemic created new issues that our current system could not handle because it is stretched so thin. In both cases, we failed our seniors.
I am strongly in favour of a national inquiry into long-term care facilities to understand exactly how and why we failed to protect residents from the ravages of the pandemic. The for-profit model of care that has led to conditions of precarity for workers and terrible neglect for residents must be eradicated.
My Green colleagues and I have been very outspoken about the urgent need to reform management and care provided to seniors. Senior care must not be limited to care homes, but should also include investment into innovative home-sharing plans and other measures that enable seniors to stay in their own homes, for as long as possible.
At the federal level, it is imperative that we develop a National Seniors’ Strategy. We must amend the Canada Health Act to guarantee high-quality continuing care. We must create national standards for care; these standards must be negotiated with the provinces and territories. The federal government should establish a regulatory body to ensure that national standards are adhered to, protecting both residents and workers from coast to coast. I agree with you completely, that a coordinated approach which involves all levels of government is vital.
It is unfortunate that it took the devastation wrought by COVID-19 to bring wider attention to the longstanding issues faced by seniors and their support workers in long-term care facilities. Now is the time to translate our collective outrage into comprehensive government action.
Thanks for asking me about the Green Party position. I appreciate your idea of posting this response to social media and will ask my team to help do so.
I hope you will decide to support me to continue doing this work in parliament.