Taking Action to Protect Long-Term Care Residents

Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety Heard From Close To 2,000 Ontarians

TORONTO, May 16, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety, established to address incidents of abuse and neglect in long-term care homes as well as the potential underreporting of these incidents, has finalized its action plan for the long-term care sector.

"We had a wealth of information and input to guide the development of our action plan. The opinions, suggestions and stories we received were thoughtful, heartfelt, wide-ranging and invaluable for guiding the Task Force's work - I believe the implementation of this plan will raise awareness of the issues of abuse and neglect and lead to meaningful change," said Dr. Gail Donner, Chair of the Task Force, and former Dean and Professor Emerita, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.

Almost 2,000 individuals and groups responded to the task force's survey or made a submission suggesting reasons why abuse and neglect might occur and how incidents may be prevented. In addition, targeted interviews and meetings were held with over 40 subject matter and industry experts and practitioners, and data and reports from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care were reviewed.

"All task force members have ownership of this report and have a role to play in its implementation and adoption. That is a key strength of this plan," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors.

The Task Force identified 18 actions to improve the care and safety of residents in long-term care homes. Eleven actions focus on areas where the long-term care sector can play a leadership role. Six actions require leadership by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and may benefit from participation of other partners. In the final action the Task Force commits to implementing the recommendations and regularly reporting on progress.

"Implementation of these actions will encourage residents to have their voices heard, to express their concerns and help to drive positive change," said Donna Fairley, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Residents' Councils.

The following are key action areas where the Long-Term Care Sector can play a leadership role:

...Making Resident Care and Safety the Number One Priority in Long-Term Care Homes Over the Next Year and a Top Priority in Years to Follow ...Committing to Reduce Incidents of Abuse and Neglect in Long-Term Care Homes and be Accountable for Achieving Results ...Advancing the Development of Strong Skilled Administrators and Managers ...Strengthening the Ability of Staff to be Leaders in Providing Excellent and Safe Care ...Empowering Residents and Families With a Stronger Voice and Education ...Committing to Implement the Action Plan

"It is vital that residents and families understand their rights, and know where they can get information they may need. We look forward to working with our sector partners to create an education strategy that informs residents and families about topics relevant to resident care and safety and the involvement that they are able to have in these areas," said Dr. Phyllis Hymmen, President, Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities.

Action areas requiring leadership from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care include:

...Developing Coaching Teams to Help Homes Improve ...Addressing Direct-Care Staffing in Homes ...Supporting Residents With Specialised Needs to Ensure Their Safety and the Safety of Others ...Addressing Legislative Requirements and Processes That Detract From Resident Care and May Be Driving Abuse and Neglect Underground

"We wanted the results of our consultation to inform a series of practical, meaningful and doable actions - for the sector - by the sector. Our action plan is designed to ensure that there is engagement across the sector as we move forward, and our progress is measured and reported," said Gail Paech, Interim CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association.

"I want to thank our long-term care sector partners, and the thousands of individuals and groups who responded to the task force, for coming together to create this important report," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "I look forward to reviewing the report, and to working together to ensure our long-term care residents receive high quality, dignified care from compassionate staff."

The task force was established by members of the long-term care sector. It had broad representation, including family and resident councils, nurses, physicians, unions, personal support workers, long-term care provider associations and advocates.