The COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to create a new, better normal at Canadian long-term residential care facilities. This report’s short-term recommendations include:
-making all staff permanent and limiting their work to one nursing home;
-raising staff wages and benefits, especially sick leave;
-rapidly providing testing for all those living, working or visiting in homes;
-ensuring access to protective equipment immediately; and
-severely limiting transfers from hospitals.
In the longer term, evidence suggests policymakers should more effectively integrate long-term residential care into the public health care system, through federal legislation similar to the Canada Health Act. The intent would be to:
-develop a universal public long-term care plan that is accessible and adequately funded;
-stop privatization and promote non-profit ownership;
-ensure protective equipment is stockpiled for the future;
-build surge capacity into labour force planning and the physical structure of facilities; and
-establish and enforce minimum staffing levels and regulations.
Published By: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Publication Date: April 2020