Serving Residential and Community Care Homes for the Elderly in Manitoba

NON-PROFIT NURSING HOMES CALL FOR FUNDING INCREASE, HIGHER STAFFING July 13th, 2020

Winnipeg, July 6, 2020 — As the COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on long-term care facilities in Canada, the owners of 29 of Manitoba’s private, non-profit personal care homes are calling for immediate funding and staffing increases to help improve resident care.

The Manitoba Association of Residential and Continuing Care Homes for the Elderly (MARCHE) says personal care homes in Manitoba have been chronically underfunded for years and resident care is suffering as a result.

“Lack of funding, human resource challenges and aging infrastructure are issues not just in Ontario and Quebec,” says MARCHE Executive Director Julie Turenne-Maynard. “Many personal care homes–including all of those in Winnipeg—have not seen any funding increase for basic operations in more than 10 years. During that same time, dietary expenses at MARCHE homes increased by 36% and the cost of incontinent supplies increased 50%. Funding of these items had to come at the expense of other departments.”   

MARCHE says money for repairs, renovations and replacement of critical infrastructure is also insufficient. Many homes are over 40 years old and have multiple beds per room, thus facilitating the spread of infectious diseases. In the non-profit sector, homes need an average $6 million in upgrades per home. Yet a recent 25-year period saw little to no increase in provincial funding, while inflation over those years was 57%.

“At minimum, all personal care homes must receive operating budgets that reflect the annual cost of inflation, the increased needs of residents, and basic upkeep of their capital infrastructure,” Turenne-Maynard says.

MARCHE is also calling on the provincial government to fund higher staffing levels in order to provide the care residents require.  The average resident in a Manitoba personal care home is more than 85 years old and has acute and complex healthcare challenges, including dementia. Although resident needs have increased, staffing levels have remained the same since 2009. MARCHE is calling on the provincial government to increase the hours of care from 3.6 hours per resident per day to a minimum 4.1 hours.

“The critical issues facing personal care homes are not new, and we have been raising them with government for a decade,” Turenne-Maynard points out. “Faith-based and community-supported organizations have been providing services to elderly Manitobans for over 100 years and have a wealth of experience. We can be an effective partner to government in jointly finding solutions to the long-term problems of under-funding, inadequate staffing, and unsuitable polices and regulations.”

More than 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Canada have been linked to long-term care facilities. Manitoba has had seven deaths in total, with one related to a personal care home.

“While we have been successful so far, we cannot be complacent about COVID-19,” says Turenne-Maynard. “We know that having to provide increasingly complex care without adequate funding leaves personal care home residents and staff vulnerable—now more so than ever before.”

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For more information or to arrange an interview with a MARCHE personal care home:

Julie Turenne-Maynard

Executive Director, MARCHE 204-771-5585