The head of the County of Simcoe’s Health and Emergency Services says retirement homes have been shortchanged for years and welcomes an inquiry that could bring real change.
“I think pre-COVID long term care has been really struggling with resources. We have been in a crisis situation in Ontario for several years,” said Jane Sinclair, General Manager of the county’s Health and Emergency Services, “When you add a pandemic on top of an existing resource issue, you know you’re gonna see us even more challenged in this particular sector of healthcare.”
“I hope something good will come of it that,” she continued, “that the underlying need for support in long term care will be adequately identified, and that the government will take action quickly to put things in place to start to provide better support to long term care homes across the province.”
Sinclair points out the county’s four long-term care homes have remained COVID-free for the duration of the pandemic. She adds the four homes don’t suffer from the same shortages and staffing issues as others might, thanks to local governmental support. “I think our four long term care homes are fortunate in that we have support from County Council and from our local municipalities,” she told Barrie 360 over the phone, “We actually operate at a higher level of staffing than it then is currently funded because of that support that we have.”
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Sinclair concluded by pointing out the five long-term care homes mentioned in the report are the exception, not the rule. “This has been a terrible tragedy. But we want to ensure the public knows that these are the exceptions and that there are wonderful homes operating across the province,” said Sinclair, “We really need to to support our long-term care staff for the tremendous job they’re doing. It is very tough work, and they’re such a committed group that really makes a difference in our seniors’ lives.”