Ontario Taking Emergency Measures to Support Long-Term Care Homes During COVID-19

Published on March 28, 2020

Funds, resources and flexibility for the sector to support staffing and continue to protect province’s most vulnerable

On March 28, 2020, the Government of Ontario is implementing a new emergency order to ensure that staffing and resources are available to help care for and protect long-term care residents during the COVID-19 crisis. These temporary measures provide further flexibility for long-term care homes and allow homes to redirect their staffing and financial resources to essential tasks.

In addition, the Ministry of Long-Term Care is also implementing a new approach to redeploying its highly qualified inspectors. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents.

"The COVID-19 global pandemic presents challenges the likes of which we have not seen before," said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care. "I want to assure you that we are working around the clock to keep your loved ones safe and we will not stop acting to keep long-term care residents and staff safe and secure. I want to thank the dedicated staff of these homes who are working tirelessly during these unprecedented times."

Critical funding for the long-term care sector was recently announced in Ontario's Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. A $243 million fund will create additional surge capacity in homes, while supporting 24/7 screening, more staffing and supplies and equipment to help with prevention and containment of this COVID-19 outbreak. This builds on an immediate injection of funding that long-term care homes have already received.

Quick Facts

  • A new emergency order will help homes tackle a COVID-19 outbreak by addressing restrictions around staffing, reporting complaints, and documentation to help ensure there are enough staff to care for residents.
  • Redeploying inspectors to help with critical areas of need was also done in the long-term care sector during SARS in 2003. This model was effective in supporting homes through that pandemic.
  • Several enhanced measures have been introduced in long-term care homes to enforce social and physical distancing and contain the spread of COVID-19. These include increased bed availability to ensure homes are able to provide isolation rooms, ensuring sufficient nursing and personal support care staff are available and a temporary order that gives homes the flexibility they need to deploy staff when and where they are needed.

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