Malton Village, The Toronto Star June22, 2018
Ontario’s Long-term Care COVID-19 Commission made 85 recommendations that need to be enacted in order to keep residents and staff safe in future viral outbreaks. The recommendations were divided into five areas. Highlighted here are the remaining three areas of the Report.
Person-centred care: Human Rights Code, the Long-Term Care Act and Residents Bill of Rights: With years of neglect, sweeping reforms are needed in our long-term care homes to protect residents and provide a quality of life. The Report highlights person-centred care but In order to provide person centred care, all the residents’ needs should be assessed and respected including lifestyle choices, diversity and emotional needs. (Recommendations: #29, #37, #38)
Staffing issues: A severe staffing shortage and a work force poorly trained with few infection control measures compounded the COVID-19 situation. All the staffing recommendations in the Report are important. There is an urgent need for skilled staff but recommendations are not explicit enough in what training is required. Person-centred care requires staff to have emotion-based training. Recruitment and hiring practices need to be addressed. Staff recruitment should assess the attributes of emotional intelligence, empathy, compassion. All staff and students should have experience in settings where new models of care are being provided. Most importantly, there needs to be commitment from leadership to promote person-centred care practices. (Recommendations: #40, #41, #42, #49)
Design Standards: Poor facility design and resident overcrowding heightened sickness and death in long-term care homes, with nearly 4,000 residents and 11 staff dying of COVID-19. All the design manual recommendations are important but alternative person-centred models and provision of incentives in order to create smaller home-like units needs to be included. (Recommendations #61 and #64)
Transformative culture change is needed in our long-term care homes. Please send a letter to your MPP encouraging the government to take action NOW on the recommendations in this Report.