Press Release: Ontario Medical Students Lobby for Improved Long-Term Care for Ontario's Seniors

As Ontario’s future doctors, we believe that improving long-term care (LTC) access for seniors should be a priority in the context of an aging Canadian population. Today, 60 Ontario medical students from the Ontario Medical Students Association (OMSA), an organization that represents over 3500 medical students in Ontario, have travelled to Queens Park to advocate for increased seniors access to LTC. As the Ontario government seeks to reopen health care legislation this spring, we have identified three key LTC issues that should be addressed directly and urgently.

  1. Currently, the waiting times for Ontario’s seniors for long term care homes are unacceptable. The current waitlist for LTC beds is 23,443 and this is projected to double in six years without any action. OMSA is urging the Ministry of Health and LTC to develop a comprehensive wait times strategy in consultation with appropriate stakeholders to address system challenges for long-term care placement.
     
  2. OMSA recommends that the MOHLTC improve the Enhanced Long-term Care Home Renewal Strategy (ELTCHRS) to provide timely, regular, and predictable funding for the renovation of long-term care homes that do not meet current regulatory standards, and set a timeline of five (5) years for completing these renovations. At this time, 40% of LTC beds fail to meet regulatory standards and this can pose serious safety risks to residents.
     
  3. With rapid changes occurring in our healthcare system, OMSA recommends that the MOHLTC maintain and support the role of case managers to coordinate services in both home care and long-term care settings. Case Managers are key contributors to improving patient care and outcomes as they integrate multidisciplinary care across the healthcare continuum.

Our senior citizens and their families are a vulnerable population that may suffer in silence. As future healthcare professionals, it is our duty to speak up. Through province wide consultation, medical students have made it clear that senior’s access to LTC should be made a priority. A commitment to the above recommendations, ongoing dialogue, and collaboration will enable Ontario to build a long-term care system where every senior is guaranteed a safe, comfortable home. 

Justin Cottrell
Director of Representation
Ontario Medical Students Association
representation@omsa.ca

Ali Damji
Chair
Ontario Medical Students Association

chair@omsa.ca