For immediate release
OTTAWA – June 12, 2003 – The
Sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs has proposed improvements and changes to
long-term care for Canada’s Veterans.
The Sub-Committee – part of the Standing Committee on National Defence
and Veterans Affairs – was formed about a year ago, and was given a mandate to
study long-term care for Veterans.
Chair of the Sub-Committee -- Bob Wood (Liberal MP for
Nipissing) – notes, “Many of our war service Veterans now need long-term care,
and a network of facilities established across Canada in the past decades is
providing care to a large number of them.
The administrators are trying to meet the needs of the elderly Veterans
while grappling with the financial restraints of the day.”
After touring close to a dozen facilities across Canada,
the Sub-Committee tabled its final report today in the House of Commons and
requested a response from the Federal Government within 150 days. The Chair points out that the report
contains 25 recommendations.
“One of the problems that these facilities face” noted Mr.
Wood, “is that they fall under Federal and Provincial government criteria. However, it’s Veterans Affairs Canada that
has the ultimate responsibility for the care of the Vets.”
Highlights of the report include a
call for a consistent policy across the country for issues such as waiting
lists; the elimination of rooms with three occupants per room without reducing
the number of priority access beds; development of guidelines to govern
consultations between administrators, Veterans, and Veterans Affairs Canada;
closer liaison between officials at long-term care facilities and the
government concerning future funding for renovations and equipment; and the
recognition by Veterans Affairs Canada of people who have made significant
contributions to the care of Veterans.
Mr. Wood also said “A common concern we heard from the residents was
the quality of the food. In too many
cases, the meals are prepared in advance, and not on-site. In facilities where the meals are cooked at
the residence, you could sense a whole different atmosphere – and it was
certainly a positive reaction.” Six of
the recommendations of the Sub-Committee dealt with the food issue.
Mr. Wood notes, “There
are some specific issues related to specific sites. There are certainly no horror stories, but there are situations
that are not desirable – like three people to one room. But the most serious concerns of the
Sub-Committee are already being looked into by Veterans Affairs.”
“One thing that I would like to make perfectly clear,”
stated the Chair of the Sub-Committee, “is that the care offered by the staff
at these facilities is without question ‘top notch’.”
“What we are looking for as a result of this report,”
stated Mr. Wood, “is a standard of care that is the same no matter which part
of the country you are in, and a standard of care that is fitting for those who
fought for our freedom.”
Bob Wood (613) 995-6255
Chair of the Sub-Committee on Veterans Affairs
Diane Deschamps (613) 995-9461
Clerk of the Sub-Committee
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