Provincial group calls for better funding for Ontario's long-term care homes
Ontario Health Coalition says in 5 years, there have been 27 homicides in long-term care homes
Several years ago, Norma Timmermans' husband Byron developed dementia and could no longer live at home.
She got him placed into a long-term care facility in Sudbury. A short time later, she says he was pushed out a chair in the television lounge by another resident.
"He fell and broke his clavicle which affected his comfort big time," she said.
"I expected him to be safe and well taken care of."
Byron is part of a statistic that is growing in the province, according to the Ontario Health Coalition. That group released a report on Monday outlining violence in the province's long-term care homes.
It states in a five year period, there were 27 homicides in long-term care homes in Ontario which it says is part of a "rising tide of violence among residents of long-term care facilities."
Violence 'related to shortage of trained staff'
While the coalition wasn't able to break down where those incidents took place, Dot Klein, with the Sudbury chapter of the group, says it's an issue throughout the province.
"I have worked in all the long-term care facilities in this area and we have the same amount of violence, we have the same amount of a shortage of trained staff as we have across the province," she said.
The coalition is calling on the provincial government to better fund and staff long-term care facilities.
'[Violence] is related to the shortage of trained staff," she said.
Melissa Wood is with Unifor, which represents employees at several long-term care homes in Sudbury. She says working in an understaffed environment is difficult for residents and employees.
"It leaves them feeling, besides emotionally, mentally and physically exhausted, most of them end up leaving depressed," she said.
"I spend many nights on the phone talking with different people who work in long-term care and they're actually crying. They're crying because they're exhausted. They're crying because of residents not getting the care that they need because they don't have the time in a day to do it."
'Transformational health strategy'
In a statement to CBC Sudbury, Hayley Chazan, the press secretary for the Minister of Health and Long Term Care says the health and safety of Ontarians is a "top priority" for the government.
"Ontarians in long-term care homes deserve to live in a safe and secure environment," she said.
"There is no doubt that the previous government left a fractured health care system that does not work for the people of Ontario. That's why we are focused on building a strong and sustainable health care system that puts the needs of Ontario's patients first."
Chazan adds the Progressive Conservatives are in the midst of developing a "long-term transformational health strategy."
"Together, we will create a health care system that the people of Ontario expect and deserve," she said.