In today’s Toronto Star Christina Bisanz, chief executive of the Ontario Long Term Care Association – which primarily represents for-profit nursing homes – said Ontario leads most provinces in improving the quality of long term care thanks to new legislation aimed at making care uniform. Bisanz says that includes legislated minimum staffing levels. Oh yeah? That would be news to us.
For some time OPSEU has been among those calling for a minimum staffing standard of at least 3.5 hours of direct care per resident per day based on average acuity.
The call for 3.5 hours was recently reinforced by a new report from the Institute for Research on Public Policy. The IRPP report notes there is a significant quality gap between for-profit and not-for-profit long term care homes.
The report’s authors, Magaret McGregor and Lisa Ronald, write in Monday’s Globe & Mail: “We have reviewed Canadian and U.S. research evidence on the link between ownership and care quality and concluded the contracting out care to private, for-profit facilities is likely to result in inferior care compared to the care delivered in public and non-profit facilities.”
The authors say studies have consistently found for-profits have lower nurse staffing levels compared to their not-for-profit counterparts. If we had a minimum standard of care that was applicable across the province, then Bisanz might begin to have a point.
The OLTCA has in the past called for a minimum of three hours of care per resident per day. In 2008 they were quick to point out that Ontario facilities offer residents about 2.6 hours of care per day, while in the rest of the country that average varies between three and 3.5 hours of daily care.
Did the OLTCA actually forget the Ontario government has still failed to deliver on what everyone from the Ontario Mental Health Association to the Ontario Health Coalition has been asking for – a minimum staffing standard that reflects the needs of Ontario’s long term care residents?
To read McGregor and Ronald’s full study, go to