We are encouraged by the openness of researchers, practitioners, and communities in sharing best practices in a timely fashion during this crisis. The COA applauds Ottawa Public Health’s reporting on outbreaks in Ottawa institutions, including LTC homes, as well as data recently made available on the Ontario government’s website. These approaches need to continue throughout the pandemic.
COA does not see the value in an extensive, and no doubt expensive and lengthy post-mortem “inquiry” into pandemics and LTC. There is extensive research and advice readily available to improve LTC. We need to move forward with critical improvements now and not delay these important changes. An independent review that focusses on transforming seniors’ care and commits to providing more funding to this sector would be welcomed.
The Council recommends the following for immediate action:
- Continue regular updates on outbreaks and outcomes by institutions and LTC homes throughout the pandemic. Regularly review the situation and make necessary changes quickly.
- Encourage regular and open exchanges of best practices in managing the pandemic in LTC homes, discover what is not working, and recommend or require changes.
- Review and simplify inspection rules and processes for LTC while ensuring that all homes adhere to current health and safety standards, including infection control measures. The focus should be on helping homes improve, rectifying problems, and modelling best practices.
- Strengthen the role and visibility of the Ontario Patient Ombudsman with respect to LTC concerns and complaints.
- Reassess the role of the federal government in funding, in developing national standards, and in addressing critical national shortages of staff and equipment in LTC.