Ontario Taking Emergency Measures to Support Long-Term Care Homes During COVID-19
Funds, resources and flexibility for the sector to support staffing and continue to protect province’s most vulnerable
Today, the Government of Ontario is implementing a new emergency order to ensure that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect long-term care residents during the COVID-19 crisis. These temporary measures provide further flexibility for long-term care homes and allow homes to redirect their staffing and financial resources to essential tasks.
In addition, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is also implementing a new approach to redeploying its highly qualified inspectors. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents.
"The COVID-19 global pandemic presents challenges the likes of which we have not seen before," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "I want to assure you that we are working around the clock to keep your loved ones safe and we will not stop acting to keep long-term care residents and staff safe and secure. I want to thank the dedicated staff of these homes who are working tirelessly during these unprecedented times."
Critical funding for the long-term care sector was recently announced in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. A $243 million fund will create additional surge capacity in homes, while supporting 24/7 screening, more staffing and supplies and equipment to help with prevention and containment of this COVID-19 outbreak. This builds on an immediate injection of funding that long-term care homes have already received.
- A new emergency order will help homes tackle a COVID-19 outbreak by addressing restrictions around staffing, reporting complaints, and documentation to help ensure there are enough staff to care for residents.
- Redeploying inspectors to help with critical areas of need was also done in the long-term care sector during SARS in 2003. This model was effective in supporting homes through that pandemic.
- Several enhanced measures have been introduced in long-term care homes to enforce social and physical distancing and contain the spread of COVID-19. These include increased bed availability to ensure homes are able to provide isolation rooms, ensuring sufficient nursing and personal support care staff are available and a temporary order that gives homes the flexibility they need to deploy staff when and where they are needed.