Sudbury·Audio

Ontario Patient Ombudsman wants to hear from whistleblowers about long-term care homes

Families in Sudbury and across the province who have complaints about long-term care homes are being asked to contact the Ontario Patient Ombudsman. The government agency has issued a province-wide call to whistleblowers and the families of those in care. It says calls have tripled since the beginning of March and the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic is bringing even more scrutiny to long-term care in the province

The province's Patient Ombudsman is calling for people to submit comments and complaints about long-term care homes province-wide. It says calls have tripled since the beginning of March and the COVID-19 pandemic. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Families in Sudbury and across the province who have complaints about long-term care homes are being asked to contact the Ontario Patient Ombudsman.

The government agency has issued a province-wide call to whistleblowers and the families of those in care. It says calls have tripled since the beginning of March and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas and NDP health critic says the ombudsman has decided he can't address the issues one case at a time anymore.

"He is making it clear that he is looking at systemic issues that go across our long term care system for all 78,000 residents of long term care. This is unprecedented where he actually goes out and seek comment and specific to the treatment of loved ones in long-term care."

Gelinas says the pandemic has put more pressure on an already taxed system.  And families are forced to keep their distance, but are worried about the care their loved ones are receiving.

She says she hopes the results of the investigation end up before the human rights tribunal.

According to the Patient Ombudsman website, some of the issues already raised include:

  • Severe staffing shortages
  • Inadequate infection control and prevention measures
  • Inability to meet the basic care needs for some residents
  • Poor or no communication

"This is a frightening time for many patients, residents, families and caregivers," said Craig Thompson, Patient Ombudsman executive director.

"Our goal is to learn as much as we can about how COVID-19 is affecting residents and staff in long-term care homes. Our hope is to help long-term care homes with future pandemic planning – including additional and potential new waves of COVID-19."

The Patient Ombudsman office can be reached at 1-888-321-0339, or a complaint can be filled out online.

France Gelinas is the NDP MPP for Nickel Belt and the Health Critic. She hopes the results of the Patient Ombudsman investigation end up before the human rights tribunal, although she says that would be unprecedented in Ontario. (CBC/Radio-Canada)
COVID-19 has brought even more scrutiny on long-term care in the province. Now the Patient Ombudsman has issued a province-wide call for comments and complaints. Provincial NDP Health Critic France Gélinas joined to talk about the move. 9:04

 

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