After a long wait, the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (the “Act”), came into effect on July 1, 2010, and is now the single legislative authority over long term care homes. The Act is comprehensive and is made up of ten Parts, and with the regulations, replaced three statutes: the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act, the Nursing Homes Act, and the Charitable Institutions Act. The Act focuses on and is to be interpreted based on the “fundamental principle” that a long-term care home is primarily the home of its residents and shall be operated so that it is a place where residents “may live with dignity and in security, safety and comfort and have their physical, psychological, social, spiritual and cultural needs adequately met.” How does the new legislation attempt to ensure these needs are met?
Of interest is the Bill of Rights, which has expanded to contain 27 residents’ rights (up from 19), some of which are new/amended including the rights: not to be neglected by the licensee or staff; to have personal health information kept confidential and accessible to the resident; not to be restrained except in limited circumstances (specifically NOT for the purpose of “discipline” or “convenience of staff”); the clear right to meet privately with visitors; and to have a friend, family member, or other significant person attend any meeting with the licensee or the staff of the home. The reporting and complaints processes have been clarified, offences have been included for failing to report and suppressing reports, and whistle blowing protections have been added.
While the practical impact of this legislation on long term care home facilities and residents has yet to be seen, and while there are bound to be interpretation issues, the potential for improvement and the increased clarity are welcome changes.
Lesson Learned: Don’t forget the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007 particularly when advising long term care facilities, elderly clients or their attorneys under power of attorney.
Until next time