Make Abuse Prevention Topmost Priority at Nursing Homes, Says Report

May 23, 2012 Updated: May 23, 2012

A task force says all Ontario long-term care homes should make prevention of abuse and neglect their topmost priority and asks the provincial government to take action along with the long-term care sector to improve the system.

The Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety was formed last year in response to media reports of elderly abuse and neglect in retirement homes. It released its action plan last week consisting of 18 recommendations to improve the quality of care for residents.

The recommendations include 11 actions for the long-term care sector to implement. They include establishing a quality committee, identifying indicators of abuse and neglect, regularly assessing staff competency in recognizing and preventing abuse, and others.

The report also calls for long-term care homes in the province to declare “the prevention of abuse and neglect and zero tolerance as their number one priority over the next year and a top priority in years to follow.”

The report further outlines a number of areas for the government to take leadership on. They include taking initiative to strengthen staff capacity, taking action to support residents with specialized needs, and revisiting legislative requirements and processes that “detract from resident care,” among others.

The task force is independent of the government and is made up of different stakeholders in the long-term care sector including medical professionals, personal support workers, unions, and long-term care provider associations, among others.

The external chair of the task force is Dr. Gail Donner, former dean of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.

The report involved nearly 2,000 individuals and groups and meetings with over 40 subject matter and industry experts.

Earlier last week, Ontario’s Liberal government announced an additional three million hours of care provided by personal support workers for seniors living at home.

The initiative is part of the province’s Action Plan for Health Care and is meant to allow more seniors to live at home to free up hospitals and long-term care facilities.

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