While the government announced on May 27th that all long-term care homes (LTCH) now have air conditioning, sadly, this does not mean that all residents have air conditioning in their own rooms. It only means that there are “cooling” rooms in common areas of the home.
It is estimated that 40% of LTCHs do not have air conditioning in residents’ rooms. If a home is in an outbreak, which still occurs, even in Ottawa homes, then these common areas may be closed. In addition, many residents have difficulties or are unable to go into common rooms. With the shortage of staff in long-term care homes, keeping residents cooled and properly hydrated may be very difficult. The consequences are severe for the residents and make the work situation even more challenging for the already overworked staff.
The Council on Aging of Ottawa believes that the building standards for all homes must include appropriate cooling systems throughout the building and especially in the residents’ rooms. We believe that we need to monitor this situation in our local LTC homes and raise our voices for change. Seniors have borne the brunt of the pandemic. Sadly, they should not be further disadvantaged during extreme hot weather.
Please act to raise awareness of this situation.
What can you do to help?
1. If you visit a long-term care home, check to see the temperature in communal spaces and individual rooms is at or below 26 degrees. If you feel hot, it is over 26 degrees.
2. File a complaint with the Ministry of Long-term Care. Call the Long-Term Care ACTION line toll-free at 1-866-434-0144. Hours of operation 8:30 am – 7:00 pm, 7 days a week. www.ontario.ca/page/long-term-care-home-complaint-process
3. Give as much information as you can. Include
- the name and address of the home
- a description of what happened (is this an ongoing problem? or a one-time event?)
- where exactly in the home did this occur
- any other details like what specifically you would like the home to do to resolve your complaint
4. Notify the Premier of Ontario and the Minister of Long-Term Care of your concerns.
|Premier Doug Ford
Premier’s Office, Room 281
Legislative Building, Queen’s Park
Toronto, ON M7A 1A1
|Honourable Merrilee Fullerton
Minister of Long-Term Care
Suite 100 – 240 Michael Cowpland Drive
Kanata, ON K2M 1P6
5. For more information on extreme heat, visit the Ottawa Public Health website at OttawaPublicHealth.ca or call 613-580-6744.
6. Let the Council on Aging of Ottawa know of your actions and the specific situation in local LTC homes by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for being a champion for change for long-term care in Ottawa.
Adapted from: Seniors for Social Action (Ontario). (May 27, 2021). Action Alert! – Air Conditioning in LTC. [PDF].
Ottawa Public Health. Extreme Heat and Humidity [website].
Ontario Agency for Health Protection and Promotion (Public Health Ontario). At a glance – The use of portable fans and portable air conditioning units during COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes. Toronto, ON: Queen’s Printer for Ontario; 2020. [Fact Sheet].