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Increase In Staffing Needs Critical To Meet Resident Care Needs In Ontario

Seniors in long term care homes have greater care requirements than ever before but with current staffing levels, homes are having serious difficulty meeting their needs, warns the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS).

Provincial data shows that in 2013-14, 83% of new admissions had high to very high levels of impairment compared to 76% in 2009. Long term care residents are simply not receiving the care they need and, without additional support, will increasingly be at risk.

“At 3.4 hours per resident per day, current staffing levels continue to fall far short of the
4.0 hours per resident per day recommended in a 2008 report on staffing in long term care homes,” says Donna Rubin, OANHSS CEO. “The recommendation was right then and it is right now, but it will take a significant provincial commitment to close this gap.”

Kevin Queen, CEO and District Administrator for District of Kenora Homes for the Aged, says residents’ needs, particularly in Northern Ontario, are more complex than ever before. “I am very concerned about the increasing proportion of residents within our homes with complex physical and/or mental health issues,” says Queen. “We have great staff who provide great care, but they simply cannot keep up. We need more staff to meet these increasing care requirements.”

Lee Mesic, Administrator of Pioneer Ridge Home for the Aged, confirms that seniors’ needs in Thunder Bay are no different. By 2020, 21.8% of the city’s population will be 65 and over, and have higher rates of chronic illness and co-morbidities. Mesic mentions, “Our staff are doing the best they can to meet the basic needs of our residents, but this is not enough. We must address this shortfall now. It is with great concern and a shared vision for quality care that we urge the government, through the next provincial budget, to increase staffing levels.”

Over 78,000 residents live in Ontario’s 630 long term care homes, and demand continues to grow with more than 22,000 seniors on waiting lists. Seniors are coming into long term care with increasingly complex care requirements, such as intravenous therapies and peritoneal dialysis, as well as advanced forms of dementia and aggressive behaviours, which only add to the concerns about safety.

OANHSS is urging the government through the next provincial budget to increase staffing levels to a provincial average of 4.0 hours per resident per day over the next three years, at a cost of approximately $385 million. OANHSS’ request is outlined in its recent provincial budget submission, available at

OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include not-for-profit long term care homes (municipal, charitable and non-profit nursing homes) seniors’ housing, supportive housing, and community service agencies. Member organizations serve over 36,000 long term care residents annually and operate over 8,000 seniors’ housing units across the province.

Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)




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