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OPSEU calls for improvements to long term care and home care on first Seniors Day

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TORONTO, Oct 1 /CNW/ – The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) is calling upon the provincial government to improve health care supports on the first National Seniors Day.

"While we honour and show appreciation to our seniors, we must also show a commitment to resolving the challenges of those who cannot access quality care in our nursing homes and in the community," says OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas.

In anticipation of a return to the competitive bidding process introduced by the Harris government, home care workers are leaving the sector, creating significant professional shortages at the agency level. Coupled with underfunding, many Community Care Access Centres can only provide care to the most acute patients.

This spring Health Minister Deb Matthews extended the present moratorium on competitive bidding, but promised it would be reintroduced soon.

OPSEU has also been calling for a staffing standard in the province's nursing homes to ensure our most vulnerable citizens are given the quality care they deserve.

Both nursing home and retirement home workers have seen a significant rise in the acuity of residents under their care with little additional staffing support. As a result, home care workers are facing burnout from increased workload stress while patients have to rely increasingly upon families to fill the gap.

"Patients are being pushed out of hospital sicker and quicker," says Thomas. "They are finding there is often no care available for them in their community."

National Seniors day is celebrated every year on October 1st and coincides with the International Day of Older Persons.