Campbell: More long-term care beds urgently needed in Sioux Lookout and across North
QUEEN'S PARK - Sarah Campbell, MPP for Kenora-Rainy River pleaded with the Wynne Liberals to immediately invest in long-term care in Sioux Lookout and across the Northwest, to address the long-term care deficit and prepare for future needs.
The fact is that, as of March of this year, there are more than 30,000 people who are on a wait-list for long-term care in the province of Ontario. Wait times for people who urgently need long-term care and are waiting in hospital have increased 270% since the Liberals came to office, from a median of 18 days to 68 days. This is just a median.
In northwestern Ontario, and Kenora–Rainy River in particular, the wait times for nine of every 10 people who are waiting for this service can be as long as 1,402 days, for a basic bed in Sioux Lookout. For those of you who are doing the math, that is nearly four years. That means four years of being stuck in a hospital without the necessary supports to provide the specialized care our seniors deserve, and families worrying about the safety of their loved ones. It also means that many seniors in the northwest will not be able to even see the inside of a long-term-care unit because they will never make the cut. It leaves families who can afford it to try to privately fund some supplementary hospital services, such as those of a personal support worker, for a few hours a day to make sure that the needs of their loved ones are met, even if just for those few hours. It also means that loved ones who are in desperate need of greater supports and supervision and who are lucky enough to get a long-term-care bed are forced out of their home communities into other centres hundreds of kilometres away, and without the personal and emotional supports they need at a time when they need it the most.
In the far north of my riding, it is not uncommon for people to be sent out of their remote First Nation community to Sioux Lookout. But because of Sioux Lookout only having 20 beds to service a catchment area of 30,000, these people are then sent out even farther, to places like Dryden or Fort Frances, where their loved ones cannot easily visit with them and where these facilities don’t always have the ability to speak their language. The resulting poor health outcomes are painfully evident.