QUEEN’S PARK – During Question Period in the Ontario Legislature, NDP MPP Howard Hampton set his sights on Minister Deborah Matthews, the Minister of Health. At contention are decisions being made in Kenora that impact seniors, and their choice in the issue of long-term-care.
Hampton questioned the Minister on why a 90-year-old woman may be moved to a long-term-care bed that is 220 kilometres from her home.
Hampton is encouraging people from the Kenora area to continue writing letters to the Minister of Health to ensure that Health officials understand how important this issue is.
Here is the transcript of the debate from the Ontario Legislature:
Mr. Howard Hampton: A question to the Minister of Health. People in Kenora want to know: Does the Minister of Health believe it is right that a 90-year-old woman who is a patient at Lake of the Woods District Hospital is told that the only long-term-care bed for her is in a long-term-care home in a community that is 220 kilometres away? Does the Minister of Health think it is right to tell families to send their loved ones so far away just to get the health care they need?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: No, I do not think it is right for people who are in hospitals in Kenora to be told they must go hours away for long-term care. This is an issue that I have taken some interest in, and I think the member might want to know that there are now 13 patients in need of long-term-care beds at the Lake of the Woods hospital. They are a top priority for placement in long-term care in the community and where they choose across the LHIN. The LHIN is working actively with the ministry on a plan to address the ALC pressures in Kenora. This is a range of solutions, including interim beds and home care.
There are two long-term-care homes in Kenora. Birchwood Terrace has five spaces available. They are temporarily not admitting people because of an infection outbreak. They are working with public health, and we are hoping that situation-
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Supplementary?
Mr. Howard Hampton: As the minister knows, it’s not just this 90-year-old patient; it is several patients. They are all being told that if they want a long-term-care bed, “then go 220 kilometres down the highway, away from your family, away from your loved ones and anyone who even knows you.” What is worse, there are 12 long-term-care beds at the home for the aged in Kenora, but they are shut down due to lack of funding.
Many people have written to the minister, and I’ve written to the minister, asking that the 12 long-term-care beds that are shut down due to lack of funding receive the operating funding they need. The question is: Will the minister provide the funding, or does the McGuinty government think it’s appropriate to send people-
The Speaker (Hon. Steve Peters): Thank you. Minister?
Hon. Deborah Matthews: Let me confirm that no patients have moved from the Kenora area to Rainycrest, Fort Frances. This is not hospital policy. The CEO of the hospital has sent a letter to the families, to the patients, and clarified with the doctors and the nurses that they are not moving.
The member opposite is apparently unaware that Pinecrest, the home he is speaking about, does have beds available but they are what we call D beds. They are not up to the standards that we insist be met for interim beds.
We are working with the LHIN, with Pinecrest, to determine how we can address this issue as quickly as possible. We are committed to doing this, and we are working very hard to get-