Oshawa — On Friday, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and Oshawa NDP MPP Jennifer French said that Ontario’s broken long-term care system has let families down, leaving seniors struggling to access the care that they deserve.
The NDP MPPs met with Oshawa families to talk about their experiences with long-term care. Donna Barnes’s parents have been separated by a long-term care system meant to support them. Her mother is in long-term care while her father languishes on the waiting list. Dr. Deanne Houghton’s mother was in long-term care for years, but struggled with neglect and substandard treatment. Madeleine Stadnik is paying out-of-pocket for her father’s long-term care after a very long wait in hospital to get the spot he’s got now.
“It’s heartbreaking to think about Donna’s parents who, after spending their lives supporting each other, are separated when they need each other the most,” said Horwath. “Or to hear Madeleine’s struggle to find even basic accommodations for her father, forcing her to pay just to keep him in hospital while he waited. Donna and Madeleine are not alone – there are thousands of people on the wait list for long-term care, losing hope that they will even find a bed - let alone be reunited with their loved ones.
“It should never have come to this – and it doesn’t need to be this way."
Nearly 32,000 people are on the wait list for long-term care in Ontario, while those already in care often face neglect or even violence in care homes that are understaffed and under resourced. Since the Wettlaufer murders brought issue of abuse and neglect in long-term care to the forefront, Andrea Horwath and the NDP have called for a two phase, find-and-fix inquiry into long-term care. However, the Wynne Liberals continue to deny that there’s a problem, restricting the Wettlaufer inquiry to events specifically connected to Wettlaufer's crimes.
"Let's get to the bottom of the problems in care, and get to work fixing them," said French. "No one should go to visit their loved ones, only to find them scared, distraught or covered in unexplained bruises -- but that’s exactly what happened to Dr. Houghton. Silencing Dr. Houghton is wrong. Sweeping problems under the rug is wrong.
"Families deserve more than an underfunded, understaffed system of care. We need an inquiry to fix problems as they are uncovered. New Democrats have a plan that gives Oshawa families hope, and ensures seniors are supported by the province they worked so hard to build."