Ensuring Safe Haven – Long Term Care legislation

Overall, the Long Term Care Homes Act, 2007 and its proposed regulation seem to adequately deal with the issues surrounding elder abuse. Although the law focuses on preventing elder abuse by addressing the characteristics of the facilities more than those of the staff or the residents, it does provide fairly comprehensive and detailed provisions, which may indeed be an effective tool in preventing abuse in long term care homes. But it is up to the people managing the LTC facilities to use the tools effectively.

There may also be a need for systemic change to occur outside of the exclusive scope of the law and/or the individual LTC facilities. Research shows that many stakeholders identify professional associations as being an important mechanism to ensure that qualified professionals provide quality care. They also provide a body through which advocacy can take place as well as a place to address the behaviour of individual members of the profession. Registered nurses and licensed practical nurses benefit from such professional associations yet residential care aides and personal support workers (who provide most of the first line, direct care to residents) do not.

The new Long Term Care Homes Act consolidates the 3 Acts that used to govern nursing homes and homes for older persons into one overarching statute. It received Royal Assent in June 2007 but it cannot be proclaimed into force until the necessary regulations are approved. The regulations are currently undergoing a review and public consultation process.