Ontario Liberals release emergency plan for long-term care

(File photo courtesy of © Can Stock Photo / stokkete)

The Ontario Liberals released their emergency long-term Care plan they say will “tackle the ongoing crisis” brought on by the fifth wave of the pandemic.

The plan consists of three “pillars” including vaccination and testing; infection control and prevention; and staffing capacity.

Candidate for Don Valley East, Dr. Adil Shamji has seen the effects of the pandemic on long-term care homes first hand.

He said the province need to pay nurses more.

“Frontline healthcare workers like nurses and PSW’s were fleetingly offered pandemic pay during the first wave only to see that evaporate during subsequent waves,” said Shamji.

“I think it is essential that we need to reinstate pandemic pay and consider matching bonuses as has been seen in municipalities and other provinces such as Quebec.”

Liberal candidate for Mississauga-Streetsville, Jill Promoli would like to see third doses of COVID vaccine made mandatory for workers in the homes and more provincial support to provide vaccinations onsite.

“We need to ensure that long-term care homes have sufficient access to rapid testing so that staff and care givers can test daily and help prevent bringing infection into homes,” said Promoli.

Candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, Dr. Nathan Stall suggested they would change the way outbreaks are managed to avoid “confinement syndrome.” Stall said the condition was newly identified during the first wave of the pandemic when residents who were isolated to their rooms for weeks suffered sudden declines in their physical and cognitive abilities. It was first noted among prisoners sentenced to solitary confinement.

“How can we make sure that outbreaks are not spreading but recognize that we have a highly vaccinated population,” said Dr. Stall. “So that for individuals who aren’t symptomatic, you know, does isolation change? Does an entire floor need to be isolated if there is a resident case? These are the conversations that are actively happening.”

Stall said any Liberal policy would not supersede public health guidance.