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President’s Message, November 2016

 
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities
President’s Message
November 2016
 
I’d like to take a moment to remind us of our roots as an organization and the importance of our work. In 1980 Betty Hatt was deeply troubled at the lack of quality of care in LTC homes across the province. She placed an advertisement in the Globe and Mail. Her ad asked, simply, if others were appalled by the lack of care their loved ones were receiving in nursing homes. On September 7, 1980 a group 15 likeminded people met and planned.
 
The group’s second meeting, a month later, attracted representatives from the Registered Nurses Association, Patient’s Rights, the Mayor’s Task Force on the Disabled and Elderly, and two reporters from the Globe and Mail. This diverse and enthusiastic group researched every aspect of nursing homes, launched a newsletter, mounted a widespread publicity and membership campaign, developed organizational by-laws, and, in 1982, incorporated as a non-profit registered charitable organization. Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities was born. A non-profit, registered charity organization focused on individual and system advocacy – an independent voice for quality in LTC homes.
 
CF became known as the “little group that could” with its dedicated team of volunteers. We’ve had incredible leadership from incredible individuals like Freda Hannah and others who fought for improvements.

  • Fought to have the Nursing Homes Act include the Resident’s Bill of Rights, mandatory reporting of harm to residents, and nursing home financial accountability. We then ensured their inclusion in the new Long-Term Care Homes Act.
  • Helped create the much needed Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and the Ontario Coalition of Senior Citizens Organizations.
  • Advocated for Residents Councils and mandatory public posting of inspection reports in each home to ensure accountability.
  • In 1998 we initiated the program that launched autonomous Family Councils. We later urged the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care to provide sustainable funding for the Family Council Program.
  • Produces Ontario’s only Report Card on LTC homes, an overview of the results of the Residents Quality Inspection (annual inspection) report for each home.

Ontarians are living longer than ever, the population is growing and is more diverse, and medicine is advancing in incredible ways to prolong life. However, this puts increasing demands on LTC homes to care for more people with more complex medical, behavioral and social needs. Wait lists are long, care inconsistent, and resources scarce. Now more than ever, we need to continue to fight for quality Long Term Care.
 
Our Focus in 2015/2016

We’ve had a very busy year. Concerned Friends continues to be very concerned about the great inconsistencies in the quality of LTC care across the province. We are steadfast in the promotion of the need for increased training and staffing in LTC homes, improved follow up and enforcement to issues about care in the homes, and a commitment to transparency from the LTC homes and the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.
 
Advocacy Committee Report

The Advocacy Committee received approximately 200 phone calls this year from residents and caregivers in need of help. Our five volunteer members have noticed that the calls we are receiving are more complex and serious in nature and often come to us when they are feeling frustration that the Ministry hotline and LTC home processes are not helpful in resolving their problems. We are looking forward to working with the new Patient Ombudsperson Christine Elliot and her office in improving the way these complaints are handled.
 
In addition to individual advocacy, we have brought this message to the LTC Quality Improvement Program Advisory Committee to the Ministry of Health and the Ontario Health Coalition LTC Committee which brings like-minded organizations together to promote change. Last year we wrote to the Auditor General requesting a review of the value for money of Long Term care in Ontario. This was granted and a review completed. The Ministry is currently in the process of changing the inspection process to reflect the recommendations of the auditor general’s report.
 
Reviewers Committee Report

As part of our mission to advocate for improved quality of care for residents of long-term care homes in Ontario, Concerned Friends’ volunteers review all the inspection reports issued by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. In addition to the comprehensive Resident Quality Inspection (RQI), the Ministry also conducts Critical Incident inspections, Complaint inspections, and Follow-up inspections. Our six volunteer reviewers track the non-compliances, particularly the Compliance Orders, issued to each home and maintain a data base with the information. We keep track of the issues that are most problematic for long-term care homes, and also the homes that have difficulty complying with the Ministry regulations. This information helps to inform our advocacy efforts. It is posted on our website and also shared with members of the public who contact us when they are in the process of looking for a suitable long-term care home for themselves or their loved ones.
 
Communications Committee Report

Our newsletter remains highly valued and respected for its strong advocacy positions and commitment to investigating serious concerns in LTC. We have had a lot of good feedback from partner organizations, members and media. Huge thanks goes to Kathy Pearsall who creates and publishes our quarterly newsletter. We are also continuing to update and develop our website and Facebook page whose readership is slowly growing. Lastly, our speaking engagements and media requests have continued to be in high demand.
 
Board Update
 
This year our board will be focusing on growing and maintaining our membership and volunteers, building a new strategic plan to guide our work, and reinvigorating our committees to increase our effectiveness as system advocates.
I want to thank our incredible board members who devote themselves to such a worthy cause. We are an entirely volunteer run organization. We depend on “like minded” concerned friends to be able to do our work. I also want to thank SPRINT for their continuous support in providing us with meeting and storage space which enables our work.
Finally, I would like to say that it is such a privilege and honor to work with and on behalf of Concerned Friends. Let’s be a positive force for change in LTC homes.
 
Thank you,
 
Jordanne Holland
President
Concerned Friends of Ontario Citizens in Care Facilities