QUEEN’S PARK – NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky (Windsor West) called on the Ford government Monday to provide guidance to long-term care homes, residents and their families on when and how they can safely see each other again.
The majority of long-term care residents have received their COVID-19 vaccine, but have no information on when they can have their designated caregivers, their loved ones, back into their homes or go outdoors.
“Seniors in long-term care homes have been in isolation for over a year, many confined to their rooms, said Gretzky. “Many sit alone in their rooms, their health rapidly declining with no stimulation, no exercise and no affection. Some residents have lost the will to live. They’re literally dying from isolation.”
“Has the government forgotten about them? Residents and their families all need to see a plan now for reuniting them and allowing residents to go outdoors – when can that happen, and how will we ensure it’s done safely?”
Gretzky also asked the Ford government to take concrete action to ensure no one is denied meaningful access to their designated caregivers, by passing her legislation, More Than a Visitor Act (Bill 203) into law.
“Many seniors have been separated from their designated essential caregivers, without meaningful access to the people that love them and provide the support they need to stay mentally and physically healthy,” said Gretzky during question period at the Ontario legislature Monday.
With the majority of long-term care residents across the province now vaccinated to protect them against COVID-19, Gretzky says meaningful access can happen in a safe manner, with proper PPE, testing and infection prevention and control in place. But policies implemented by care homes across the province differ greatly when it comes to caregiver access, residents going outdoors, and any possibility of the return of family-and-friends visits.