Letter to the Editor:
Long Term Care Advocates, Sioux Area Activity Centre
Sioux Lookout is the service hub of a northern region with a population of 30,000 and an area the size of Germany. Approximately 6000 people live in the Municipality of Sioux Lookout and 24,000 live in 30 First Nations to our North.
In 1990 due to local efforts a 20-bed EldCap facility opened in Sioux Lookout to serve a population of 5200.
In 1997 the Four Party Agreement signed between Canada, Ontario, Sioux Lookout, and NAN identified provincial obligations to work with Sioux Lookout to develop Long Term Care plans for the area served.
In 2000 a study determined additional 25-30 beds (total 45-57) required for needs in 2001.
In 2005 Minister of Health George Smitherman recognized the need for additional 25 beds and decided that the existing 20-bed EldCap facility should be replaced by a 45-bed LTC addition to the new hospital.
In 2006 Meno Ya Win amended development plans and submission was made for 45 bed facility.
In 2008 due to rising cost of new hospital building, the 45-bed LTC addition was deferred.
In 2010 Construction of the new Meno Ya Win Health Centre was completed and facility opened
In 2012 the Northern Chiefs in Assembly passed a resolution in support of the development of more LTC beds at the Meno Ya win Health Centre in Sioux Lookout.
In 2014 the Northwestern LHIN and Meno Ya Win each undertook independent studies and identified the need for 100 LTC beds.
In 2014 Meno Ya Win submitted a Pre-Capital Submission for a 96-bed (76-additional bed) LTC to the Northwestern LHIN
In 2014 The Northwestern LHIN supported the Meno Ya Win 96 bed submission and passed it on the MOHLTC.
In 2015 the Municipality presented the above information to Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines at the August 15 AMO Conference, Niagara Falls Ontario. Further information was sent to Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in September, acknowledged by Dipika Damerla Associate Minister. Further letters were sent in May and July.
In December 2015 the Municipality sent another letter to Honorable Eric Hoskins, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
2017 NOMA Conference Municipality again addressed the Long Term Care issue.
I do not believe that our Country, Province, Municipality or, indeed, service industries and funding organizations are wilfully neglecting the needs of our elderly.
I believe the scope of the neglect is due in the main to ignorance by funding organizations and reluctance on the part of vulnerable persons in identifying and advocating for themselves.
Currently there are up to 50 members of our community and catchment area being warehoused in facilities away from family and friends.
There are 8-10 LTC candidates currently warehoused in hospital where nursing staff are expected to provide personal care in addition to nursing care as identified in the letter by Christine Sanders, published in the Bulletin this past summer.
There is some personal care for elderly in their own homes. Respite care is only available 104 km away in Dryden (2 beds), mainly inaccessible due to transportation issues for visits by familiar family and friends.
The provincial average wait time for LTC is 91 days. Here in Sioux Lookout the wait time for the 1990 facility is over 4 years. Dedicated volunteers that initiated the original William George Extended Care facility over 20 years ago are not able to access timely care.
It has been 20 years since the Four Party Agreement identified the need for additional Long Term Care Beds here in Sioux Lookout. During the 20 years many levels of leaders have attested to the need to provide for the elderly. Yet we are still being subjected to additional studies and more waiting and sending our loved ones away.
If you have a story to tell and are willing to share it please contact me or drop it off at the Sioux Area Activity Centre.
Speak out. Advocate for our Elderly. Do not silently allow our folks to be shipped away from family and friends or warehoused in hospitals.
Dianna Ayotte, Long Term Care Advocates
Sioux Area Activity Centre Committee