Concern #3: Inadequate standards for physical environments
As stated in COA’s report, Long-Term Care in Ottawa: We Need Change Now!, 31% of available beds in Ottawa are not currently up to Ministry standards. The spread of COVID-19 has been exacerbated by the continuing use of ward rooms. The physical environments in LTC homes are long overdue for a fundamental redesign.
COA recommends the following for immediate action:
- Streamline Ministry approvals and processes, and increase financial and other support to LTC homes, for the structural adaptation of available physical space to meet public health safety standards for pandemics and infection outbreaks. This would improve the ability to isolate residents while respecting their privacy. It would also provide private space for staff to change and rest without risking contamination.
- Update physical standards for new LTC homes and for renovations to existing ones to reduce the risks to residents and staff during pandemics and for improved infection control. This would include, among other changes, requiring single-occupant rooms with individual bathrooms, and an appropriate number of isolation rooms.
- Ensure existing LTC homes in Ottawa meet current safety and design standards within the shortest possible time.
- Encourage new models of care and recognize that person-centered care may be supported by models other than the current 32-bed standard.