Dignity, Security, Safety and Comfort for All: Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2006
January 16, 2007
Submission to the Standing Committee on Social Policy
The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional organization for registered nurses who practice in all roles and sectors across Ontario. Our mandate is to advocate for healthy public policy and for the role of nursing in shaping and delivering health services. RNAO is pleased to present this submission on Bill 140, the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2006, to the Standing Committee on Social Policy.
Bill 140 is an ambitious and complex piece of legislation. It would roll together the three Acts governing the long-term care sector: the Nursing Homes Act, the Charitable Institutions Act and the Homes for the Aged and Rest Homes Act. The Bill’s fundamental principle is that long-term care accommodations are residents’ homes, and should be operated so that residents have dignity, security, safety and comfort.
RNAO endorses this principle, and offers this submission in the hope that the resulting legislation realizes the stated principle. In writing its submission, RNAO is guided by its own set of principles:
- Long-term care is an essential health-care service, and should be delivered as part of Canada’s universally accessible health-care system.
- Not-for-profit health care delivery should be supported by the Bill.
- Long-term care residents should receive strong individual and collective protection under the Bill, and should be empowered by the Bill to control their lives to the greatest feasible extent.
- Both long-term care facilities and the government owe transparency and accountability to residents, to residents’ families, and to the public.
- Adequate standards of care in long-term care should be specified in this legislation.
There must be sufficient funding for long-term care to realize adequate standards of care and to pay for accountability requirements. The government must, at minimum, meet its 2003 campaign commitment to increase funding in the sector by $6,000 per resident per year.
Facilities’ reporting requirements should be chosen to efficiently and effectively realize our multiple objectives: accountability and oversight; protection of residents’ rights; and a high quality of life for residents.
There must be adequate public consultation about the Bill itself, as well as any related regulations.
Bill 140 takes a number of steps to protect resident’s rights and to enhance accountability and oversight. As it is a large and complex piece of legislation, stakeholder consultation is crucial to ensuring that provisions in the Act will best realize its stated objectives. In the following, RNAO reviews some key elements of the Bill and suggests amendments.