No hospitalized patients in Ontario will be transferred to a nursing home without consent, says Minister of Long-Term Care | New

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Ontario will not move inpatients on waiting lists for nursing home beds to other long-term care facilities against their will, says Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra.

Move to allay fears that transfers could be made to nursing homes not on a patient’s preferred list of choices – and possibly far from loved ones – Calandra said Legislation proposed last week to free up rooms in hospitals would not require anyone to be relocated.

“We will not move people without their consent,” Calandra said Monday under pressure from opposition parties in the legislature.

“It just doesn’t work if we don’t involve the families, if we don’t involve the patients…it’s the patients who will have the opportunity to give their final consent.”

Premier Doug Ford’s government hopes to free up 2,500 additional hospital beds in the event of a winter flu and COVID-19 surge as hospitals are facing a crisis such as the temporary closure of emergency rooms caused by the lack of staff caused by the pandemic.

As part of the strategy, legislation introduced on Thursday would allow elderly or chronic patients no longer requiring acute hospital care to be transferred to other nursing homes if doctors indicate they no longer need to stay. to the hospital.

The backlog of elderly patients in hospitals waiting for nursing home beds is a long-standing problem in Ontario known as “alternate level of care” beds. Ford’s Progressive Conservatives tried to alleviate the problem by announcing new, expanded and modernized nursing homes.

Critics argue the legislation would put undue pressure on patients and their families.

“Cruel doesn’t even begin to describe it,” said NDP MP Wayne Gates (Niagara Falls). “This bill seeks to send seniors out of their communities into open-bed homes.”

Some could be in homes with high rates of illness and death from COVID-19, which has killed more than 4,000 long-term care residentsGates warned, noting that 79 nursing homes still do not have air conditioning in all resident bedrooms despite the summer heat.

Dr Adil Shamji, a former emergency physician who was elected Liberal MP for Don Valley East in the June 2 provincial election, said the legislation comes with nearly a third of the 626 nursing homes in Ontario who are experiencing outbreaks of COVID-19 among residents and staff. .

“We have staffing shortages that are even worse in long-term care than in acute care (hospitals),” he told reporters.

“We are asking the elderly to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire by forcibly sending them to long-term care.”

Calandra said the plan could free up hospital beds if suitable long-term care homes with appropriate supports, such as dialysis or dementia care, can be found for patients on an interim basis until what a bed opens in their favorite long-term care facility. ease.

Without the legislation, the movements would not be as likely to occur, he added.

“It allows us to continue conversations (about transferring an inpatient to long-term care) that would otherwise have been interrupted,” he added. “What are their favorite houses? If not available, what moves might be in that area?” said Calandre.

“We will work with residents’ councils, family clinicians, hospitals and residents to ensure that the regulations actually keep residents as close to their homes of choice as possible and close to family, friends and loved ones. their spouse.”

Seniors looking for a long-term bed, often with the help of family, fill out forms naming several senior residences where they would prefer to live. Waits can take weeks or months. When a bed becomes available in one of their favorite homes, they are offered a room.

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