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Individual Advocacy

Advocacy Committee

Not all long-term care homes in Ontario are alike. There are good ones, and not-so-good ones, and none is perfect.

Each year, our team of five volunteer advocates assists hundreds of families to navigate the long-term care system. Some families call us because they need help in choosing a home. Others have already placed a loved one in a home and are looking for advice on how to address concerns that have arisen there.

The vast majority of the problems we hear about can be attributed to the following staffing problems within long-term care.

  • Poor continuity of care. Health care cuts in the mid-1990s resulted in fewer full-time Personal Support Workers (PSWs) hired in long-term care, in favour of less costly part-timers. Both staff and residents have paid the price. Many PSWs now work two jobs to make ends meet, and they receive no benefits. Residents do not receive the continuity of care they would get from full-time staff.
  • Staffing shortages. During the day, a single PSW takes care of 12-13 residents. On the night shift, a single PSW takes care of 15-16 residents. Meals pose a huge challenge for workers because it takes time to feed a resident with dementia.
  • Lack of training. PSWs are expected to look after residents with increasingly complex health problems and lack the training to do so.
  • Lack of supervision. Registered staff have a great deal of documentation to do which means less time available on the floor to supervise and mentor front-line staff.


    We recommend that the ministry do the following:

    1. Legislate minimum staffing requirements in the homes.
    2. Standardize and improve the education and training of PSWs.
    3. Spend wisely (e.g. less bureaucracy, more care).

Anyone looking for help in resolving an issue with a long-term care home, or in navigating the complex long-term care system in Ontario, is encouraged to call the Concerned Friends Action Line:

  • Toronto area: (416) 489-0146
  • Toll-free: 1 (855) 489-0146