No easy fix for long-term care, but it starts with working conditions: experts

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Experts say the path to fixing long-term care after the COVID-19 pandemic is not clear, but many agree it starts with improving conditions for the caregivers who work in them.

Policy-makers and politicians have vowed to fix Canada's neglected long-term care system in the wake of the disastrous outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, leading to the deaths of thousands of people in nursing and retirement homes.

The Canadian Labour Congress has released 21 recommendations to improve conditions once the pandemic is over, including higher wages and providing full-time status to workers.

The group also recommends Canada put an end to private care homes and improve federal oversight by incorporating the facilities into the Canada Health Act.

Dr. Samir Sinha with the National Institute on Ageing says it may be too early in the pandemic to know if private or public homes are faring better, but data will help inform a review once the crisis is over.

Health Minister Patty Hajdu says she would be interested in such a review, so Canada can make changes to ensure that seniors are allowed to age in safety and dignity.