Long-Term Care in Ottawa
Preamble - April 30, 2020
The Council on Aging of Ottawa (COA) has always been committed to improving the well-being of seniors and age-friendly services in our community.
In line with that commitment, the COA’s Health Issues Committee recently reviewed the state of long-term care in Ottawa and concluded that long-term care was not working well for anyone – seniors, their families, and the staff who work in this sector. More visible than ever these days, the COVID-19 pandemic has tragically laid bare the many serious weaknesses in long-term care.
In late 2019, the Board approved the report Long-Term Care in Ottawa: We Need Change Now! that outlined the COA’s vision for long-term care, identified four priorities for change and highlighted measures for monitoring these needed changes. The original plan to release the report with a public event this spring was understandably cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition, we have started important work with our many community partners to strengthen our collective voice on this issue, a voice for change now.
With the unfolding crisis in long-term care homes in our city and across the province, the COA feels compelled to release this report now as a testament to the COA’s unwavering commitment to improving the long-term care sector, an important and vital health service for seniors.
The Health Committee’s current priority will be to monitor the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term care and to advocate for all the needed changes, both short- and long-term, which will reduce the risks to residents and to staff.
We look forward to continuing the open dialogue on ways to strengthen this often neglected, but so very important health care service.
Chair, Board of Directors
Chair, Health Issues Committee
Our Vision for Long-Term Care
Long-term care is a place where residents live in a safe, home-like environment and are treated with respect and dignity.
To make this happen,
- funding must support staffing levels which meet the care needs of all residents
- wait times must be guaranteed and all barriers that delay timely admission be removed
- the sector must be recognized and respected as an integral and vital part of the health care system and be affordable for residents.
Our Priorities for Long-Term Care
We Need Change Now!
Making changes to long-term care will take time. A plan needs to be in place immediately to reduce wait lists and wait times for care and to encourage innovation in this sector. The increase of privately paid care for needed services in LTC, retirement homes and home care will continue to encourage two-tier health care for Ottawa seniors and increase the burden on unpaid caregivers.
The Council on Aging of Ottawa will continue to work with others to voice the concerns of LTC residents and of those who are waiting, to ensure quality care for Ottawa seniors today and in the future. We will remain diligent in watching changes in long-term care.
COVID-19 - Family Resources and Decision Aids
Virtual Family Forums provides a forum for families to ask questions and get support (Family Councils Ontario)
Virtual Visits Toolkits supports families to set up Zoom and Skype calls with family members in long-term care (Family Councils Ontario)
Connecting Families Facebook Group (Registered Nurses Association of Ontario – English only)
Family Support and Action Line – available to LTC families, staff, residents, and the public to call to receive information or raise concerns during #COVID19. Call 1-866-434-0144; 8:30 AM-7 PM, 7 days a week (Ministry of Long-Term Care)
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. (2020). Should I or my family member go to live with family or stay in the long-term care or nursing home?
National Initiative for the Care of the Elderly (NICE). (2020).To Stay or to Go? Moving Family from Institutional Care to your Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Ontario)
National Institute on Aging, Ryerson University, Long-Term Care Resources for Residents, Families, and Caregivers
How to Find Long-Term Care
Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Home and Community Care: The first step is to contact the Champlain LHIN which is responsible for Home and Community Care (formerly the Community Care Access Centre (CCAC)). They will help determine your or your loved one’s eligibility and help you with the next steps. For more information, contact them at 310-2222 or 1-800 538-0520
Ministry of Long-Term Care: This site, Long-Term Care overview explains all the steps in the process and discusses costs and eligibility requirements. It includes a page showing the difference between LTC and retirement homes
Reports on Long-Term Care Homes: You can search for homes by name or geography for information about the homes including how they perform on Ministry inspections
Checklists to Evaluate LTC Homes
Champlain LHIN. (2017). Planning for Long-Term Care When care at home is no longer possible
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities. (2019). Ministry of Health Long-Term Care Home Checklist
The Council on Aging of Ottawa. (2004). Guide for Selecting a Long-Term Care Facility
Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, Long-Term Care Homes
City of Ottawa, Long-Term Care
Health Quality Ontario, Long-Term Care Home Performance in Ontario
Ontario Ministries of Health and Long-Term Care, Home Community and Residential Care Services
Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, Transforming long-term care to keep residents healthy and safe