How the pandemic might spur real change in Ontario’s long-term care homes

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The impact of COVID-19 on residents of Ontario’s long-term care homes has shocked many, including politicians. But it has not surprised those who have been warning for years that the system is broken.

“Sadly, I can’t say I was hugely surprised, but maybe by the numbers,” said Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, regarding the scope of the pandemic in long-term care homes.

Families, advocates for the elderly and others have long warned that staffing levels are inadequate, staff members are underpaid and homes desperately need upgrading.

About 30,000 of the province’s 78,000 long-term care beds are scheduled for redevelopment — meaning they don’t meet standards for safety and infection control. Those include homes in which four residents share rooms, some of which were among the hardest hit by COVID-19.

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