Monday, June 23, 2008

Open Letter to Norm Miller, MPP

Dear Mr. Miller,

I have great concerns around the Aging at Home project that seems to be now defunct. The LHIN promised to provide services for seniors. The role has fallen back to CCAC,and they are inadequately funded.

Regarding CCAC, they only help people when they are discharged from hospital or need to get into LTC. They are a short term request for service. Once the person is in LTC they do not get any more service from CCAC. I cannot tell you how serious this is for our seniors.

I am publishing a book on dying with dignity and have done extensive research.

They do not have enough of a budget, PSW or RNs to provide enough care for all the seniors who need it. Our LTC homes are short-staffed for all of these workers, too. The local non-profits cannot hire and retain their workers, as they are poached to LTC or the hospitals. The PSWs are poorly trained, or their 14 modules they are given cannot provide them enough in education. Most of these people are 40-something, high school educated women up here. There are still issues in the city.

CCAC only provides respite up to 4 hours per day of care. When my mother was dying, and I was trying to get help and working full time in Parry SOund, they didn't even refer me to a hospice organization. From the point of view of a family member it is most frustrating.

I sat on the LHIN 12 Aging at Home project and we determined that a basket of services would be appropriate. Some seniors need transportation (like my friend) and they have to go to the Red Cross. My friend gets 2 1/2 hours help per week. They drive her into town, she gets her mail and groceries. These contracts have been signed and have not been fulfilled.

Our Meals on Wheels program is very poorly organized. Volunteers don't have contact info. If someone falls ill and they find them, they have to run around looking for information on them. This is another service that ought to be run by the Family Health Teams, but is not. Meals on Wheels has folded in Gravenhurst due to lack of volunteers. My husband works as a volunteer on Wed., but he is the youngest person. Another person doing it is getting chemo and in ill health. Another volunteer forgets to do it, or is late. It is truly a sad state of affairs.

Jennifer Jilks
My response from Mr. Miller is that many of these contracts are now being fulfilled, but were held back due to legislative barriers that prohibited some of the work that needs to be done. Some of the projects, as of January, 2009, are now being put into place. We need sustained work to help seniors stay at home, release those from hospital who require Alternate Levels of Care.

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