Ontario Strengthening Medication Safety in Long-Term Care Homes
March 29, 2021
TORONTO — The Ontario government is providing more than $77 million to help long-term care homes adopt advanced technologies to strengthen medication safety. Modernizing this process will allow for better transmission and handling of prescriptions, more accurate administration of medication and increased security of the drug supply in long-term care homes. "Our government puts the safety and well-being of long-term care residents at the heart of everything we do," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "Often, long-term care residents have complex medication needs. Technology has been shown to be effective at enhancing safety at all stages, from prescription to ongoing monitoring." The three-year Medication Safety Technology program is part of Ontario's response to the final report of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System, in which Justice Gillese emphasized the importance of medication management to keep long-term care residents safe. Technology can make medication management safer and more efficient by automating and integrating processes across the medication lifecycle. This program will provide supplementary funding to help long-term care homes acquire medication management technologies that support:
Secure and accurate electronic transmission and handling of prescription information.
Optimization of medication regimens for long-term care home residents, including the identification of opportunities for deprescribing (stopping a medication or reducing a medication's dose) and decision support at the point of prescribing (e.g., electronic clinical decision support systems)
Strengthening security of the drug supply (e.g., advanced drug storage solutions, like automated dispensing carts)
Accurate administration of medication (e.g., software and devices that help support medication administration)
Oversight and monitoring of the medication use process
Improved functioning of the medication management system in the long-term care home.
Homes will have the flexibility to choose from a list of eligible technologies. Alternatively, they will also be able to submit a request to the Ministry of Long-Term Care for technologies or interventions that are not on the ministry's list but meet the program's objectives. Specific details about the program will be provided separately to long-term-care homes through detailed program implementation materials. This program is in addition to the Strengthening Medication Safety in Long-Term Care initiative, which provides education, training and tools as part of a three-year partnership with the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada).
Medication safety technologies have been demonstrated to be effective in supporting safety in care settings, including in acute care and long-term care homes.
All homes are eligible and will receive funding based on the number of licensed or approved beds in operation in the home, or a base amount of $50,000 (over three years), whichever is greater. The base amount is being provided to ensure that smaller homes also benefit from the program.
Ontario is committing to an average of four hours of direct care per day for loved ones living in long-term care homes. Ontario is the first province in Canada to take this important step.
Visit Ontario's website to learn more about how the province continues to protect Ontarians from COVID-19.
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