A Thunder Bay union representative for health care workers is applauding the province's move to hire more nursing home inspectors.

The spokesperson for SEIU Healthcare said more frequent inspections will expose serious understaffing in long-term care and its impact on residents.

"[For] people who need a bath on a Tuesday ... if there's not enough time or not enough staffing, [at the end of the day] that person doesn't get a bath," Bill Joblin said.

On Monday the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care promised unannounced inspections for all long-term care homes by the end of 2014 — and committed to inspections every year after that.

Things 'aren't getting done'

Joblin said the union hopes the move will lead to better conditions for residents as well as for workers.

"It's extremely important that these be unannounced visits and we pull back the curtains of some of these buildings," he said.

"Some things are left … that should be done that aren't getting done."

The Northwest Community Care Access Centre CEO said she supports more frequent inspections. Her organization helps place clients in long-term care homes.

"It increases the accountability and the public information for what's going on at the homes," Tuija Puiras said.

Inspection reports not only alert the ministry of any problems, but they can also help clients and families make an informed decision when choosing a long-term care home, Puiras noted.