McGuinty Government Gives Long-Term Care Residents and Their Families Greater Say in Decisions

Archived Release

McGuinty Government Gives Long-Term Care Residents and Their Families Greater Say in Decisions

Ministry of Health

Fulfills Key Element of Action Plan To Reform Long-Term Care System TORONTO, Aug. 26 - The McGuinty government is helping to improve the quality of life for residents in Ontario's long-term care facilities by investing in the expansion of family and resident councils across the province, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman announced today. "We all want the highest quality of life for our parents, family and friends who live in long-term care homes," Smitherman said. "To do that we need to create a community culture, in all our long-term care homes, where family members, friends and residents can come together to look out for what's best for residents." The government is investing $385,345 to support family and resident councils. The new investment is part of the McGuinty government's action plan to reform Ontario's long-term care facilities that was announced last May. The action plan also includes investments in more front line-staff and a strengthening of enforcement, accountability and standards of care in long-term care homes. The funding announced today includes: - $215,000 will go towards the family council program, a collaboration between the Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities and the Self-Help Resource Centre of Toronto, to create new family councils and support existing ones in long-term care homes across Ontario. This investment will help teach family members how to advocate on behalf of their relatives, and how to bring forward concerns about conditions and care of residents in long-term care homes. - $60,000 in new funding for the Ontario Association of Residents' Councils (OARC) to increase the number of residents' councils across the province. This brings total annual funding to $170,345. This money will go toward learning tools and other supports for home staff to work with residents' councils, and for staffing and resources at the OARC. "The government is to be commended for following through on its commitment to have family councils in place in long-term care homes across the province," said Lois Dent, President of the Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities. "Autonomous family councils encourage greater family involvement in the lives of their loved ones and this leads to better care and quality of life for all residents." "Thanks must go to the government for recognizing the great work that residents' councils have been doing since 1981 and that they are a great benefit to everyone involved," said Patricia Prentice, Acting Executive Director of the Ontario Association of Residents' Councils. "Residents' councils provide residents with a vehicle to be heard and listened to on decisions that affect their daily lives." "Family and residents' councils give families and their loved ones in long-term care homes a crucial voice on matters affecting the quality of care," Smitherman said. "They help ensure that the only standard in long-term care in Ontario is a high standard." This news release is available on our website at: http://www.health.gov.on.ca Version fran├žaise disponible BACKGROUNDER ------------------------------------------------------------------------- Protecting the Interests of Long-Term Care Residents On May 11, 2004, Health and Long-Term Care Minister George Smitherman unveiled the government's comprehensive long-term care action plan. The plan includes the creation of a "community culture" where family and residents' councils are established in all long-term care homes. Residents' Councils Residents' councils are a forum for residents to come together to express their views and concerns about matters affecting their lives. A residents' council can advise all residents at a home about their rights and obligations, and about the rights and obligations of the facility under existing legislation and service agreement with the Ministry. Residents' councils can also meet regularly with representatives of the long-term care home to: - Review inspection reports - Review the allocation of money for accommodation, care, services, programs and goods provided - Review the financial statements relating to the facility filed with the minister under the regulations - Review the operation of the facility - Attempt to mediate and resolve a dispute between the facility maintaining and operating the home and a resident of the home - Report to the minister any concerns and recommendations that in its opinion ought to be brought to the minister's attention. There are currently 178 residents' councils in long-term care homes in Ontario. Family Councils Family councils exist to improve the quality of life for residents in long-term care homes by providing family members or friends with an opportunity to be more involved in the lives of residents. Family councils are a mechanism for residents' families and friends to ask questions and bring concerns to the attention of long-term care home. They are a forum where families can learn about the daily lives of residents, the standards of care, and policies and programs of the facility, as well as share information about topics affecting the health and wellbeing of residents. The Family Council Program plays a vital role in educating, supporting and creating family councils in long-term care homes across the province. The mandate of the Family Council Program is to: - Address the issues of quality care (both physical and emotional) and the general conditions facing residents of LTC homes (individual advocacy) - Bring concerns about conditions and quality of care to the attention of the provincial government and to work for constructive changes in statutes and regulations (systemic advocacy) - Provide information to residents and their relatives concerning their rights and responsibilities under government legislation - Teach family members how to advocate on behalf of their relatives. There are currently 135 family councils in the province.For further information: Members of the media: Eva Lannon, Minister's Office, (416) 327-4320; Dan Strasbourg, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, (416) 314-6197; Members of the general public: (416) 327-4327, or (800) 268-1154