MPP John Vanthof shines light on lack of home care and improves situation for family
A caregiver in Sturgeon Falls, Ont., said she got better home care for her mother after her MPP brought up their situation during Question Period.
Carmen van Empel lives with her 91-year-old mother, Anita van Empel, and is her primary carer.
Van Empel said her mother would receive two showers a week from home and community care. In January, she asked if her mother’s situation could be reassessed and if she could have more showers.
But because her mother was not incontinent, van Empel said Home and Community Care instead reduced her weekly showers to once a week.
To return to her previous level of service, van Empel had to pay out of pocket for a personal support worker to help her mother shower a second time a week.
“She thought she was going to have to resign herself to having one of her children bathe her,” van Empel said of her mother.
« She’s a very proud woman and she’s worked hard all her life. We didn’t want to put her through that. It’s just a matter of dignity for her. »
Van Empel shared his story with his local representative, Timiskaming—Cochrane MPP John Vathof, who brought it up during Question Period on August 25.
« Carmen was just asking for a little more help for her mother, » Vanthof told the legislature.
« She got less. And you know what? Carmen’s mom now has two showers because Carmen pays for the other one herself. It’s privatization. »
Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones responded that the provincial budget includes an investment of $1 billion for home care.
« When we passed the easy access to home and community care act, which I must say the member opposite voted against, it modernized the delivery of home and community care services bringing an outdated system designed in the 1990s into the 21st century,” Jones said. said.
Van Empel said that less than two hours after that exchange in the legislature, she received a call from Home and Community Care, letting her know that her mother would be back to showering twice a week.
« You really have to stand up for your people’s interests. You can’t just give up on the first no, » van Empel said.
« My experience shows pretty clearly that sometimes you have to be the squeaky wheel, even if it’s not a comfortable place. »
She added that many other seniors do not have family members who can plead in the same way she did for her mother.