CLAC Submits Pre-Budget Recommendations to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
Documentation and quality of care identified as key issues
CLAC represents 8,000 healthcare workers in Ontario. Many of these workers provide care to residents in Ontario’s long term care facilities.
Based on input and feedback from CLAC’s long term care working group, CLAC recently made a pre-budget submission to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In response to fifteen questions posed by the ministry about capacity, infrastructure, and quality of care, CLAC long term care members shared their experiences, perspectives, and recommendations.
These forty-six recommendations, if implemented, would increase access, choice, and quality of care. For example, CLAC’s long term care members call on government to implement the recently-announced funding for four hours of care per day immediately.
Members also advocated for the government to implement CLAC’s recommended efficiency measures to streamline documentation and add more time for front-line care. After noting that the current overemphasis on the charting process rather than care outcomes continues to be a contributing factor to substandard care, the CLAC working group proposed practical solutions with seven recommendations:
1. Require homes to implement software programs effectively.
2. Require electronic documentation to operate as a seamless whole. Charting and medication ordering programs must not be set up to cause redundant work.
3. Require homes to adjust the current documentation system so that it suits the needs of the long term care facility.
4. In addition to managing documentation implementation, require ministry inspectors to also assess the efficiency and audit the effectiveness of each documentation system.
5. Provide training for facility managers to help them customize facility policies to streamline documentation.
6. Transfer the responsibility from facilities to the ministry to demonstrate that implementing the documentation system improves patient outcomes.
7. Provide funding to long term care facilities for high-quality Internet access and adequate WiFi infrastructure.
In alignment with CLAC’s patients first focus, the CLAC working group recommended that best practices be identified and adopted as a means to improve quality of care throughout the long term care sector. One recommendation asks the ministry to identify long term care facilities that have high quality of care and are performing well, and provide support for the implementation of quality of care best practices.
Some facilities do better than others at maintaining a full staff complement, organizing the work so that staff do not work so frantically and are able to care for patients according to the care plan every day and every shift. These facilities need to be identified, and the ministry needs to determine what makes them effective and what support is required to see all homes operate in a similar fashion.
CLAC will continue to put forward constructive and practical solutions that will improve and sustain the long term care sector. Residents, families, and workers deserve nothing less than a well-funded and well-functioning long term care system that provides all with dignity and respect.