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. With this investment to double the current number of long-term care inspectors by fall of 2022, Ontario will be the leader in Canada with a ratio of one inspector for every two homes. 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. 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 inspectors in the field and launching new and improved proactive inspections to give residents the quality of care they deserve.” The new proactive inspections program adds to the current risk-based program of responding to complaints and critical incidents. The proactive inspections program will assist the government and long-term care homes in identifying and resolving problems to improve the quality of care provided to residents. 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.” The pandemic brought to light long-standing systemic challenges due to decades of neglect. The government has a plan to fix long-term care that is built on three pillars: improving staffing and care; protecting residents through better accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors. The government will release its plan to protect Ontario’s progress against COVID-19 and for building the foundation for the province’s recovery and prosperity in the 2021 Ontario Economic Outlook and Fiscal Review on Thursday, November 4.
This significant investment in new inspectors and an improved proactive inspections program responds to the advice of the Long-Term Care COVID-19 Commission and the Auditor General — as well as calls from residents, their families, the public and those working in the sector for an effective enforcement regime that ensures residents are protected.
The new proactive inspections program focuses on the following program areas: residents’ rights, infection prevention and control, plans of care, abuse and neglect, nutrition and hydration, medication management, policies and directives, and dining observations.
Since the start of 2021, provincial inspectors conducted 1,367 inspections in long-term care homes in response to complaints and critical incidents.
In coming days, the Ontario government will introduce legislation to protect residents through better accountability, enforcement and transparency, and enshrine residents’ rights. It will include stronger enforcement and compliance tools to hold poor performing long-term care homes to account.