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CNA calls on governments to redesign long-term care to address serious ‘vulnerabilities’

Ottawa, May 27, 2020 — In a report released today titled 2020 Vision: Improving Long-term Care for People in Canada [PDF, 979.9 KB], the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) calls for decisive action to respond to the staggering effects COVID-19 has had on our health-care system, economy and lives.

“While a Canada-wide public health campaign to flatten the curve has largely spared our hospitals the devastation witnessed in countries like Italy and the United States, the pandemic has exposed long-standing vulnerabilities in Canada’s long-term care (LTC) sector,” said CNA president Claire Betker.

Canada has had unacceptable rates of COVID-19-related deaths in LTC; by late April, 79% of the country’s deaths due to COVID-19 were linked to outbreaks in these care facilities. “These tragic numbers are in part a result of decades of neglect of the LTC sector and a growing mismatch between the level of care required by people living in those settings,” said Betker.

To address the flaws COVID-19 has revealed in the support and care systems available to Canada’s vulnerable seniors, CNA recommends three strategic actions:

  1. The Government of Canada should immediately appoint a commission of inquiry on aging in Canada.
  2. Federal public health leaders must work with provincial and territorial governments and public health leaders to formally review the country’s COVID-19 response and organize preparations for the next pandemic.
  3. Federal, provincial and territorial governments must increase investments in community, home and residential care to meet the needs of our aging population.

“Residents of LTC have greater and more complex requirements than ever before. Changes to staff mix and inadequate staffing levels mean that workloads in this sector are unacceptable for care providers and unsafe for residents. It is time for meaningful action to address these serious issues and to redesign the way we provide care to older adults,” said Betker.

Read the full report, 2020 Vision: Improving Long-term Care for People in Canada [PDF, 979.9 KB].

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About the Canadian Nurses Association
The Canadian Nurses Association is a powerful, unified voice for the Canadian nursing profession. We represent regulated and retired nurses in all 13 provinces and territories. We advance the practice and profession of nursing to improve health outcomes and strengthen Canada’s publicly funded, not-for-profit health system.

For more information, please contact:

Eve Johnston
Media and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Nurses Association
Cell: 613-282-7859
Email: ejohnston@cna-aiic.ca