Ontario Auditor General’s Report exposes disturbing shortfalls of health and long-term care

Empty hospital corridor

Ontario’s Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk released the 2019 Annual Auditor General’s Report earlier this month.

Health care was a big focus, with reports on acute care hospital patient safety, and food and nutrition in long-term care homes. Among the shocking revelations: 6 in every 100 patients are injured while receiving care in hospital, resulting in nearly 70,000 patient injuries every year.

The report also found that hospitals are not required to report incidents that “should never happen”, effectively covering the worst-case scenarios suffered by patients of all ages across the province.

“Hospital overcrowding and hallway medicine only exacerbates this problem,” comments Marissa Lennox, CARP’s Chief Policy Officer. “This report is upsetting and disturbing, and we urge our government to take immediate action to ensure that our hospitals are adequately staffed and equipped to meet the needs of every patient.”

The report also found that long-term care homes do not have sufficient procedures in place to confirm that residents receive sufficient meal-time assistance and sufficient food and nutrition. “Not only are residents not receiving sufficient food or nutrition, they’re often subjected to late or missed meals, contaminated food and products served beyond the expiry date,” said Lennox. “Nutrition is a huge factor in quality of life.  We must do much better than serving 3-month old expired eggs.”

CARP has long advocated for improved staffing levels, and proper training for staff in long-term care to ensure that the needs of residents are being met, and that they can age with dignity and respect.

The Auditor General has called for immediate action following the release of her report, echoing CARP’s call to improve health care delivery and safety in long-term care.