With a sign attached to her windshield reading ‘LTC action day – our seniors matter,’ Terry Hartwick said she came to a Dysart municipal parking lot with other members of the Long-Term Care Coalition Haliburton-CKL on Oct. 8 to raise awareness.

“One of the things is people in general, and communities in general, don’t really know how long-term care is run unless they’ve had a loved one in a home. So, I think that it’s really important that we make it known,” Hartwick said.

Other placards coalition members placed on their cars included, ‘seniors, not profits,’ ‘fix LTC – seniors matter,’ and ‘put the love back in long term care’.”

They gathered in the municipal parking lot across from Baked and Battered.

Hartwick said, “we’re a grassroots coalition for Haliburton-City of Kawartha Lakes and we’re doing this in Haliburton today. We’re wanting change in long-term care and we need it now.”

She said that 80 per cent of deaths from COVID have been in long-term care homes. She acknowledged that locally, she knows of no positive cases of COVID-19 and no deaths in any Haliburton County long-term care homes. She said they are lobbying on behalf of the “wider” experience.

“So, we’re looking for some short-term and long-term goals, for instance, getting rid of four-bed wards, giving PSWs more pay and more benefits, more staffing in general so that there’s four hours per day minimum per resident of direct care and staff working in only one facility. We’re also looking at an increase in infection prevention and control,” Hartwick said.

She added the other main goal is getting long-term care included under the Canada Health Act. She said proponents are hoping to make a submission to the federal government by Feb. 1, 2021.

The local coalition spokesperson added they are collaborating with other entities, such as the Services Employees International Union, the Ontario Health Coalition, and the Ontario Medical Association and local doctors. “So, we’re working together with lots of people to have a strong voice.”

Hartwick added the reason she is taking a lead role in the local coalition is that her parents were in long-term care in Haliburton’s Highland Wood. Both have now passed away, including her mom in 2019 around the time of the Highland Wood roof leak evacuation.

“So that was a hard move for everybody right … really hard … I’m honouring both of my parents.” She added that at 72, she herself could be looking at a move into long-term care “in a few years from now.”

For more information, contact: hckllongtermcarecoalition@gmail.com or go to their Facebook page: Haliburton-CKL Long-Term Care Coalition.

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