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HomeNewsOntario Government Moving To Proactive Annual Inspections For All Long Term Care...

Ontario Government Moving To Proactive Annual Inspections For All Long Term Care Homes

KAWARTHA LAKES-Ontario is launching a new and improved annual proactive inspections program in long-term care homes officials announced today.

Officials say this investment will double the current number of long-term care inspectors by fall of 2022.  This will ensure there are enough inspectors to proactively visit each home every year, while continuing reactive inspections to promptly address complaints and critical incidents according to the government. Some of the province’s new inspectors will have an investigative background – ensuring that, for the first time, the inspectorate have the skills and certification needed to investigate and lay provincial offence charges when warranted.

“Our government has a plan to fix Ontario’s long-term care system, and increasing accountability, enforcement, and transparency in the sector is a key part of it,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “We are doubling the number of inspectors in the field and launching new and improved proactive inspections to give residents the quality of care they deserve.”

AdvantAGE Ontario is a provincial association representing more than 400 members across the province and include not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal long-term care homes, seniors’ housing, assisted living in supportive housing and community service agencies.

The CEO says having more inspectors won’t fix the main problem in Long Term Care right now which is staffing.

“The vast majority of homes – particularly our members, which are comprised of non-profits, municipal and charitable homes – want to do everything possible to protect seniors and provide high-quality care. That said, there is no doubt there are some bad actors in the sector. Tough measures are necessary to deal with them immediately. As for the rest of the sector – we are in the middle of a staffing crisis in long-term care. More inspectors and tougher inspections will not have the intended impact if there are not enough staff and funding to take care of residents. Introducing this new enforcement regime without the proper staff in place seriously risks destabilizing homes further. It will drive well-intentioned staff, management and volunteer boards out.” said AdvantAge Ontario CEO Lisa Levin.

The proactive inspections program brings back regular more comprehensive inspections and will assist in identifying and resolving problems to improve the quality of care provided to residents.

Officials say the program takes a resident-centred approach by allowing for direct discussion with residents, to focus on their care needs as well as the home’s program and services. The results from proactive inspections will help the government determine where the sector can benefit from additional resources, including guidance material and best practices.

“Loved ones and residents in long-term care deserve respect and the best possible care – and increasing oversight is part of our government’s plan to protect our progress by building up our health and long-term care capacity,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Minister of Finance. “Our plan will feature necessary and timely steps to protect residents in long-term care homes, while providing supports to front-line staff and investing to build thousands of new beds across the province.”

AdvantAGe Ontario wants the government to allow for a transition period giving homes time to hire more staff in order to avoid a catastrophe.

“The bottom line is we all want to make care better for seniors in long-term care. Bad actors should be punished now. For the rest of the sector, we are calling for a transition period that will prioritize staffing and education. We need more staffing and more information about the new rules to properly prepare for the new regime. If inspections and punishment come before education and staffing, there is a risk the rest of the system will crash. It is critical that homes be given time and resources to hire additional front-line health care staff and fully understand the new requirements.” says Levin.

&nbspphoto credit: MTSOfan Mary Jo Knits via photopin (license)

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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