This month there has been several very interesting announcements relating to Long Term Care. On a Federal level, Kamal Khera is the new Minister of Seniors. Mr. Raymond Cho, continues on as Ontario Minister of Seniors and Accessibility, although I have not heard or seen much from his office. I wonder if perhaps there should be a Minister FOR Seniors rather than ‘of’ Seniors….
There is however some great news regarding additional funding and monitoring of the Long Term Care industry. On October 28, 2021 it was announced that new legislation, called: Providing More Care, Protecting Seniors, and Building More Beds Act, 2021. is being introduced. If passed, this Bill would repeal the current Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 and create the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021. As well, if passed, this Bill would make important amendments to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010. The following detail is taken from the Ministry website:
It identifies 3 areas:
- ‘improving staffing and care’ which include:
- Increase average hours of care per resident to four hours by March 21 2025 AND
- Increase care provided by allied health care professionals to an average of 36 minutes per resident per day by March 31, 2023.
- ‘protecting residents through better accountability; enforcement and transparency’ which include:
- Resident Bill of Rights: adding a right to ongoing and safe support by caregivers; adding a right to be provided with care and services based on a palliative care philosophy.
- Require homes to participate in a quality improvement initiative
- Require homes to implement a standardized resident and family/caregiver experience survey
- Enable the creation of a Long Term Care Quality Centre
- Eliminate the Voluntary Plan of Correction
- Give Directors and inspectors the authority to issue an Administrative Monetary Penalty where the Director or inspector is of the opinion that the licensee has not complied with a requirement under the Act
- Expand the grounds under with a temporary manager can be brought in to assist with the operating of a long-term care home. It would clarify that a manager may be ordered to manage on a temporary basis the entire operations of the long-term care home or a specific issues (ie infection prevention and control)
- Give the Director and Ministry the authority to suspend a license and take over a long-term care home without having to revoke the license and close the home.
- Double the fines on the conviction of a no offence for individuals (up 100 per cent to $200,000 for the first offence, $400,00 for second offence.
And thirdly: ‘Building modern, safe, comfortable homes for our seniors’, which includes permitting the Minister to make a policy that outlines how many beds are needed in the province and where these beds are most needed. This policy could be used for select areas of need instead of requiring a Minister’s determination for each individual licensing request. It would allow people to request a review by the Minister of a Director’s decision on the issuance of a licence and hopefully allow the ministry to be responsive to urgent need.
“The amendments proposed to the Retirement Homes Act, 2010, would help ensure residents in retirement homes receive the care and protection they deserve. This includes:
Modernizing the oversight of the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority
- The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority would have enhanced management and compliance tools that would allow it to be a more agile and effective regulator in extraordinary circumstances.
- Data collection would be improved to support more effective, timely and data-driven decision-making and would help improve senior housing and care.
Improving quality of care
- Protection for seniors in unlicensed homes would be improved by having new compliance authorities during the license application period.
- The Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority would be better positioned to share information with law enforcement to promote the safety of residents and staff in retirement homes.
Enhancing consumer protection
- Consumer protection and transparency would be enhanced by providing easier access to pricing information on retirement home rents and services earlier in the decision-making process.
- Abuse provisions would be strengthened to allow greater alignment across sectors against financial abuse, through new regulation-making authority.
Other important announcements over this last week include:
Ontario Expands Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care Program
TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $82.5 million to expand the existing Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program to an additional 22 communities, making it available to all eligible seniors across Ontario. This program, which is fully funded by the provincial government, provides additional care for seniors in the comfort of their own homes before admission into long-term care. The program was piloted across five communities in October 2020 and is currently active in 33 communities. With this expansion, the program will be available to all eligible seniors across Ontario.
Ontario Launching New and Improved Inspections Program for Long-Term Care
TORONTO — Ontario is continuing its plan to fix long-term care by investing $20 million this year to hire 193 new inspections staff and launching a new and improved annual proactive inspections program in long-term care homes. This is part of the government’s commitment of $72.3 million over three years to increase enforcement capacity and ensure every resident experiences the safest and best quality of life, and to hold homes to account for the care they provide.
As well, on October 27, 2021 it was announced that the Ontario government is investing up to $100 million to add an additional 2,000 nurses to the long-term care sector by 2024-25. The government will do this by supporting the training of thousands of personal support workers (PSWs) and nurses who want to advance their careers in long-term care.
On October 29, 2021 it was announced that there will be $2.68 billion investment in long-term care development to deliver 30,000 new beds over ten years and redevelop existing, older homes, to increase access to long-term care, reduce waitlists, and ease hospital capacity pressures.”