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OHC’s giant Rock-in Chair tour to help improve long term care

Ontario Health Coalition photo from earlier in the tour.

Ontario Health Coalition photo from earlier in the tour.

The Ontario Health Coalition will bring its ‘Giant “Rock-in” Chair’ tour to Belleville, across from City Hall on Tuesday afternoon to raise awareness about the need for improved care in Ontario’s nursing homes.

The 10-foot tall rocking chair has 26 other stops over two weeks in a bid to collect 20,000 signatures to symbolize the 20,000 people waiting for a nursing home bed.

The coalition hopes to make the improved long-term care an election issue. The OHC also wants to see a mandatory average minimum care staffing levels of four hours daily hands-on care for each resident, as well as improved access to care and reduced wait times.

There are more than 200,000 people in Ontario who have dementia/Alzheimers and those numbers will skyrocket as the Baby Boomers age.

Nearly two thirds of long-term care residents have dementia and nearly half of those have aggressive behaviours. The OHC briefing note states “In a recent report, it was disclosed that Ontario’s long-term care homes use antipsychotic drugs at more than double the rate of U.S. nursing homes. On average, 33 per cent of residents are prescribed the drugs. Homes, often short-staffed, use the drugs to calm, restrain and reduce wandering and agitated residents (Toronto Star, Use of antipsychotics soaring at Ontario’s nursing homes, 2013).”

The Alzheimer’s Society is seeking a province-wide, and national dementia strategy that includes better training for employees.

Under staffing continues at many homes where dedicated employees state they find their work rewarding but they’re not able to do their best. On a day shift, workers can find themselves in a one to 13 ratio that can become as much as 1 to 30 over night, per worker.

The press conferences invite family councils, residents, seniors’ groups, unions, nurses, careworkers, families and long-term care administrators for the half-hour event. Belleville’s event is 2:30 p.m., on the sidewalk across from City Hall on Front St.

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