A recent report by the Ontario Patient Ombudsman shows that complaints about long-term care have soared by 370% since the beginning of the pandemic.
With nearly 2000 residents in the province having died from COVID-19, the ombudsman says a growing number of whistleblowers are coming forward with harrowing accounts of neglect—all of which reinforce C.A.R.P.’s calls for immediate and intentional action to shore up issues on the front-lines and plan for long lasting transformative change in long-term care.
“If there’s any silver lining here, it’s that more people than ever are coming forward with complaints,” notes Bill VanGorder, C.A.R.P’s Chief Policy Officer. “The call for change has never been louder, and our members are adding their voices to it in droves.”
Among the ombudsman’s recommendations are improved protections for whistleblowers working in the system; a move that C.A.R.P. wholeheartedly supports. “Staff working on the inside see the best and, most importantly, the worst of the system,” explains VanGorder. “They can be powerful agents of change on this issue, but they won’t tell their stories unless they feel safe.”
The ombudsman, who investigates complaints about care in long-term care homes, public hospitals and community care, is now conducting a more thorough investigation with a full report expected next year.