COMMENTARY Ontario’s nursing home crisis

    It’s common knowledge that our hospitals are overcrowded;  a recent study suggested that about 15% of patients in hospitals should really be in long-term care facilities.

    The problem is, we don’t have enough long-term care beds, so the province is supporting “interim care” facilities, such as Cedarwood Lodge in Sault Ste. Marie.

    It opened a couple of years ago to ease the overcrowding at the local hospital by providing temporary stays for patients in need of permanent care arrangements.

    READ MORE: Dozens reach out on troubles with home nursing care

    Instead, more than half of those frail and elderly patients are still in the temporary facility and now, Cedarwood is itself plagued with problems of overcrowding and neglectful care of patients.

    READ MORE: Ontario health minister recommits to investigating home nursing complaints

    But how many more Cedarwoods are there, that are facing the same problems?

    The long-term care sector says it needs the government to fund up to 5,000 more beds to meet their growing needs and ease the overcrowding in hospitals.

    READ MORE: Long-term care home operators in Ontario could be fined for not complying with rules

    For years, governments have ignored the need for long-term care facilities and now, that neglect is affecting hospital overcrowding, which affects emergency care and so on and so on.

    There are too many stories of overcrowding, of substandard care and of patient abuse in facilities right across the province.

    For the sake of those frail and elderly patients and for the sake of the health-care system, it’s long past time to address this growing crisis.

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