Survey results: CARP members speak out on government inaction in long-term care

The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on serious inadequacies in the long-term care system—a critical issue that CARP has been lobbying for government action on for years.

In response to the ongoing devastating effects of the coronavirus on vulnerable residents in long-term care and retirement homes, CARP surveyed its members for their feedback on governments’ responses and what needs to be done to protect seniors from further harm.

The survey, conducted by email from April 17-21, was completed by CARP Members across the country, receiving over 5000 responses from every province and territory.

Long-Term Care a Top Issue for CARP Members

92% of CARP member respondents ranked long-term care as “very important” in their province, while another 7% called it “important.” 95% of CARP members in, or with loved ones in, long-term care expressed concerns about their safety at this time, with over 80% saying they are “very concerned” or “concerned.”

Dissatisfaction with Government Action

When asked whether CARP members feel their provincial government was proactive in preparing for COVID-19 in long-term care homes, 82% of survey respondents said no. When asked to rate their provincial government’s response to COVID-19 in long-term care to date, 70% of respondents rated the performance as less than good (fair or poor).

Strongly Endorsed Need for Increased Staffing

The survey also revealed that 94% of respondents believe there is not enough staff to care for residents in long-term care. Another 63% of respondents said the level of government funding for long-term care staff is poor.

The most important issues identified in long-term care were:

  • Adequate staffing (62%)
  • Resident safety (41%)
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies for staff (40%)
  • Testing of staff and residents (36%)

CARP Urges Lasting Reform to Long-Term Care

“The COVID-19 crisis has exposed the fundamental weaknesses in the way nursing care is delivered in Canada,” says Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer at CARP. “While some of the better run facilities coped well during the crisis, many other homes struggled to deliver even minimum standards of care. This is unacceptable. Governments have a moral responsibility to ensure our most vulnerable members of society are cared for properly.”

CARP will continue to demand government action to safeguard our vulnerable elders by calling for: minimum staffing levels, training and education to support staff, improved pay and benefits for workers, increased isolation space, access to rapid testing and personal protective equipment, and most importantly, a commitment to eradicate physical abuse and resident harm in homes.

Download a pdf of the press release