While Ontario continues to maintain it doesn’t need staffing standards in its nursing homes, yet another jurisdiction has recognized the need to increase staffing standards to ensure the safety and good care of its residents.
The State of Illinois has announced it will increase nursing home care from 2.5 hours per resident per day to 3.8 hours by 2014.
Illinois has also doubled the number of inspectors — hiring 180 more for the 800 nursing homes in the State.
In Ontario, seniors advocates and labour unions have long campaigned to establish a standard of 3.5 hours of care per resident per day. In the last election then Health Minister George Smitherman had promised a staffing standard was coming. During an election forum, Smitherman said St. Elizabeth Healthcare CEO Shirlee Sharkey had been appointed to make recommendations around what that level should be. Consulting with stakeholders, including the for-profit industry, Sharkey instead recommended against bringing in such a standard.
Ontario has historically had among the worst nursing home staffing levels in North America, leading to numerous scandals and coroner’s inquests.