Provincial budget fails to deliver urgent nursing investments to care for Ontarians and to sustain the profession through the pandemic and beyond

RNAO’s media release on March 24 responded to the presentation of the Ontario budget in the legislature. RNAO is disappointed the government is failing to make the investments desperately needed to help nurses in the fight against COVID-19 and to sustain the nursing workforce after the pandemic.

Getting it right

The Ontario government must remain focused on vaccinating all Ontarians as quickly and seamlessly as possible. RNAO's urging is to maintain stringent public health measures to mitigate the spread of new variants and to accelerate the vaccine rollout plan. Success will come only through an all-hands-on-deck approach and that means utilizing every available public health nurse, primary care nurse, and home care nurse in the province – as well as family physicians and pharmacists.

Use community care providers to ramp up vaccinations!

Ontario’s vaccination roll-out has stumbled out of the gate. Please take a moment to set things right. Join us in urging Premier Doug Ford to start Phase 2 of the roll-out by putting vaccinations into the hands of the thousands of nurses, physicians and pharmacists working in community care across this province. By making use of existing community care providers and their existing infrastructure, the vaccination roll-out can be accelerated across Ontario.

Home care nurses are #ReadyToVaccinate

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RNAO is urging that public health and primary care be the healthcare sectors leading the rollout and execution of the COVID-19 vaccination. As you read in our press release last week, RNAO also asserts that home care has a vital role to play in the vaccination rollout. We are grateful for the following contribution from Shirlee Sharkey, CEO of SE Health. RNAO wholeheartedly supports the approach presented by Shirlee.

Reta’s Story  (a contribution of Judy Smith, Reta’s daughter-in-law)

In our report last week we confronted the fact that patient-centred care can be a reality or a dream. RNAO’s work with Ontario Health Teams on person-and-family centred-care was at the centre of a BPSO OHT four hour meeting a few weeks ago, and here we have another glimpse, arising from that meeting, on what person-and-family-centred care looks like from the field. The following is a contribution from Judy Smith, who shares a story about her mother-in-law Reta.

Insights from Cuba: Primary care as the focus of COVID-19 prevention

Today our focus is on Cuba, a Caribbean island with about 11 million population and a very different economic and political regime. Canadians know Cuba well through their tourist visits – more than one million in 2019. Today, we are interested in a different facet of Cuban society – the community focus of its health system and their success, so far, in controlling the COVID-19 pandemic. There are important insights for us in Ontario.

A home based model to confront COVID-19 – the case of the Balearic Islands

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A crucial question we face as we start thinking beyond the pandemic is what systemic factors have contributed to worsening its impacts, and which ones have mitigated them. I have expressed earlier RNAO’s concerns that an excessive hospital orientation within the health system in Ontario, and the neglect of community-based approaches, is most likely a factor that has aggravated the impacts in our province. Today I am profiling the way that the Balearic Islands, a province of Spain, has tackled COVID-19 with an innovative primary care and home-based approach.

COVID-19 and the challenges in homecare

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Today I am profiling one of the “forgotten,” but crucially important, health sectors: homecare. With hospitals geared to the pandemic, “decanting” less acute patients to their homes, and less able to attend to non-COVID conditions, homecare plays a central role in keeping persons in their homes and attending to their needs. However, like all community health services in our hospital-oriented health system, homecare is underfunded, neglected, and in pressing need of reform.