NDP Introduce Bill to Strengthen Care for Seniors

November 29, 2018

Manitoba NDP Leader Wab Kinew and NDP MLA Andrew Swan introduced Bill 201 The Health Services Insurance Amendment Act (Personal Care Homes Staffing Guidelines) in the House today. They were joined by Manitoba Nurses Union President Darlene Jackson and long term care nurse Karen Jantzen.

The bill legislates minimum requirements for direct care hours per resident per day in personal care homes. Protecting direct care minimums in legislation will help seniors with chronic and complex needs receive the level of care they need, and support the nurses providing that care. The bill also calls on the Health Minister to make much needed enhancements to care hours going forward.

“Every Manitoba senior deserve to have their one on one care protected, but the Pallister government’s cuts are putting that at risk,” said Kinew. “This bill will strengthen our health care system so that seniors are treated with dignity and won’t be rushed in their time with nurses.”

This spring the Manitoba Nurses Union (MNU) released their report The Future of Long Term Care is Now which addressed the nursing care needs in personal care homes. According to the report, the positive correlation between care quality, staffing levels and health outcomes is undeniable, and the evidence shows a need to move toward 4.1 direct care hours. In MNU focus group testing, nearly 60% of nurses state they do not have enough time to properly care for patients. Insufficient levels of care can increase the risk of care hazards for patients, such as falls, improper medication processing, bed sores or delayed monitoring of vital signs.

“Long term care nurses work incredibly hard to deliver the quality care seniors and their families deserve,” said Swan. “The Pallister government’s cuts have created a culture of overwork and burn out, which has made it harder for nurses to keep patients safe and healthy.”

The Pallister government has so far failed to build one new personal care home bed since coming to power. They have made significant cuts to funding for personal care homes, including ordering a 0.25% budget cut to every facility for two years and implementing a cap on funding for new PCHs. Meanwhile the Premier has caused chaos and confusion by deleting nurses across the health care system. The Premier has also raised rates for residents of PCHs every year since taking office.

“Manitoba’s nurses see it every day: more direct hours of care are needed to maintain quality care for personal care home residents” said MNU President Darlene Jackson. “This legislation addresses the key recommendations we made earlier this year, which highlights the best available evidence from across North America.”