OHC’s Giant Rocking Chair Tour: for improved long-term care

Kim Johnston —

Giant Rocking Chair Tour: “Rock-in” for improved long-term care
Kim Johnston — The Ontario Health Coalition is working with hundreds of groups to tour the province with a giant 10-foot tall rocking chair. The goal is to raise awareness about levels of care and access to care in Ontario’s long-term care homes. Almost 80,000 Ontarians, many of them elderly, live in long-term care homes (often known as nursing homes).
—  The level of care needs has risen dramatically in Ontario’s long-term
care homes as more than 18,500 hospital beds have been closed since 1990
and patients are moved out of hospitals ever quicker and sicker. But
care levels have not matched the increasing needs of the residents. The
result is unsafe environments for residents, staff and caregivers.
—  Since 2002 Ontario’s chief coroner has reported 29 homicides in
long-term care homes.
—  Ontario has the highest level of care needs among comparable
jurisdictions because many more hospital beds have been cut here.
Ontario has cut more hospital beds than any other province in Canada and
ranks last in the country in numbers of hospital beds per person.
—  Almost 2/3 of long-term care residents have dementia and almost half
have aggressive behaviours.
—  Access to care is poor with long-waits and increasingly severe rationing
of access to care.
—  There have been more than 20,000 people on wait lists for long-term
care home spaces for more than a decade.

The Ontario Health Coalition, local health coalitions, friends and allies have identified two key demands of the next Ontario provincial government to address this situation:

1.  Set a minimum care staffing standard of 4-hours of hands-on care per day
per resident.
2.  Improve access to care and reduce wait times.

The coalition will be collecting 20,000 signatures on postcards as they travel with the chair to symbolize the greater than 20,000 people waiting for long-term care placements.

Giant “Rock-in” Chair Tour Dates & Locations

The giant rocking chair will go to 27 communities over the next two-and-a-half weeks. In each location, we will hold a media event featuring our 10-foot tall rocking chair and press conferences with family councils, residents, seniors’ groups, unions, nurses, careworkers, families and long-term care administrators. Each event will be approx. 1/2 hour.

Monday, May 26
Scarborough 10 a.m., Bendale Park (corner of Lawrence Ave. E. & McCowan Rd.)
Oshawa 1:30 p.m., S.W. corner of Memorial Park, John St. W. & Centre St. S.

Friday, June 6
Toronto 10 a.m., Parkette directly east of Queen’s Park, Queen’s Park Circle
& Grosvenor St.