Persistence pays off – Successful Retirement Home Complaint Resolution

By Renate Crizzle

This is a story that needs to be told to give hope to people who experience problems with the care provided in Retirement Homes and to encourage them to pursue their complaint until it has been resolved successfully.

This is the story of a daughter whose father was residing in a Retirement Home in Scarborough. He had a stroke and needed extra care with his daily living activities. The care provided to him was totally inadequate, but the daughters repeated complaints fell on deaf ears. Finally she removed him from this Home and placed him in a Long Term Care facility where he now receives better care.

The story could have ended here but the daughter could not forget about the other people that resided on the same floor as her dad had, and also suffered the same inadequate care without having someone like herself to speak for them. So she tried various avenues to lodge her complaint but without any success. Finally in frustration she contacted our local Carp Chapter and we decided to help her with her problem.

Well, this case was quite a journey for me. It took me 3 months to get this case investigated. The difficulty was to determine the applicable governing body that had the authority to investigate this case. The peculiar thing is that registered Retirement Homes, which are private enterprises, fall under the jurisdiction of the Retirement Home Regulatory Authority (RHRA). But because the daughters dad was living on an assisted living floor, for which the Retirement Home receives extra outside funding, the RHRA has no jurisdiction over what happens on that floor.
Those floors fall under the jurisdiction of Torontos Supportive Housing with funding provided by the Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). Toronto Supportive Housing funds extra Personal Support Worker (PSW) services that may be needed to provide extra personal care, not the regular bread and butter things like cleaning, meal preparation, administration, etc., for which the resident pays with his/her monthly rent. Scarborough belongs to the Central East LHIN but when I questioned them, they informed me that they were not funding this particular Retirement Home although it is located in their jurisdiction. Further probing established that the assisted living floor was funded by Torontos Supportive Housing unit.

To their credit, the RHRA did investigate the Retirement Home and found them non-compliant with the regulations, i.e. they ignored the complaints by the residents daughter, did not follow up or investigate the complaints, did not have a documented complaint procedure or a documented plan of care execution in place. The Home was mandated to take remedial steps on all identified shortcomings. Also, the RHRAs inspection reports have to be posted in a conspicuous place within the Home. Lets hope that the management has learned from this, and some of the most vulnerable people will benefit from improved care.

So, the lesson of this story is, if you have a legitimate complaint about care provided to a loved one in a Retirement Home, and the management of the Home (to whom you should always complain first) does not address the problem, you can complain to the RHRA if the Home is a registered Retirement Home. For information go to their web site at http://rhra.ca/en/. If your loved one is residing on the assisted living floor within a Retirement Home, you can complain to Torontos Supportive Housing. Information can be found at http://www.torontocentralhealthline.ca/listServices.aspx?id=10666.. I talked to the Supervisor for Supportive Housing at #416-392-9030.

Related