Letters, week of Feb. 26

Leo the paralyzed dog an inspiring story

Sir: I was horrified that somebody could leave an animal such as Leo to suffer and die. It is unconscionable.

Ms. Penman and Ms. Smith are to be commended for going above and way beyond what anybody on that beach had done for Leo. It was wonderful to see the photos of a happy pup who has overcome so much.

I wish there were more people like these two young women. So heartfelt kudos to you both!

And thank you to The Journal for publishing such an inspiring story

Janice Johnston

Sarnia

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Hospital cuts impact more than nursing

Sir: This latest budget round at Bluewater Health (BWH) involves much more than the sad reduction in ‘Registered Nurse’ hours. The hospital is cutting service in diagnostic and therapeutic areas that will greatly affect patients, their families, and the remaining dedicated staff who will be left trying to provide the same level of care with fewer people.

Yes, hospital CEO Sue Denomy is right in saying “everyone’s affected” because every one of us will need access to these services at some point in our lives. (Observer, January 30, 2015)

Respiratory Therapy, an essential service in the hospital, will be cut by one full-time position. Reductions in areas such as Ultra Sound, MRI and Nuclear Medicine will increase wait times for critical diagnostic tests. Other diagnostic and therapeutic areas will see decreases through attrition – still a cut nonetheless and leaving less staff to do the work.

Of great concern is the planned elimination of some 4,095 hours of Recreation Therapy services for the hospital’s most vulnerable patients on the Cognitively Impaired Unit and the Complex Continuing Care areas. Less Recreation Therapy staff will result in fewer opportunities for physical, cognitive and social stimulation, which may lead to increased social isolation, agitation, and depression.

Our nursing homes are required by government regulation to provide professionally-led recreational and social activities. Should not our hospitals be held to this same standard of care? Although BWH may maintain that it is no longer in the business of providing long-term care, it cannot deny the existence of the Continuing Care areas and has itself announced plans “to group so-called alternative level of care (ALC) patients together so they can get the care they need in a more cost effective way”.

BWH’s plan may allow it to reach the level of the “most efficient 40%” of hospitals, but it will certainly do so by reducing services and increasing ‘wait’ times.

And, as Sue Denomy herself cautioned, the 40th percentile “is a moving target.” What will the cost-cutting war on hospitals have in store for Bluewater Health next year?

June Weiss

Unit Chair OPSEU (BWH)

Vice President, OPSEU, Local 145