Senior’s Guardian Angels is extremely disappointed and concerned by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government’s Bill 7 legislation passed yesterday. This legislation will force hospital patients into long-term care facilities (nursing homes) not of their choosing. This new legislation presents three serious problems.
First, the Ontario government is implying that this legislation will coerce patients by charging them a fee. It is concerning that the government will not specify what the consequences for non-compliance will be.
Second, the current waiting list in Ontario to get into long-term care is tens of thousands of elderlies and disabled who cannot look after themselves. This waiting list will only grow as the eldest of the baby-boomers now reach the geriatric age.
When a bed opens up in a long-term care facility, the Ontario government will prioritize getting a patient out of a hospital bed, which is more expensive for them, into a long-term care bed, which is a lower cost for the Ontario government. Once the government opens this pandora’s box, it will be unclosable. Hospital discharges will take priority over existing waiting-lists and hospital patients will disperse the elderly and disabled at long-term care facilities.
Third there is a correlation between the quality of care at nursing homes and the length of their waiting lists. Nursing homes that chronically have empty beds available tend to have earned their bad reputations though abysmal lack of quality. The Ontario government is responsible for monitoring and regulating long-term care quality, or lack thereof. It is reprehensible for the Ontario government to attempt to fill such beds by coercing patients into bad quality nursing homes. As the Ontario government both financially supports and regulates long term care facilities, they should simply enforce their own regulations – the Long-Term Care Homes Act. This will fix bad quality nursing homes at no additional cost to the Ontario taxpayers.