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Shifting the problem does not solve the problem: RTOERO signs joint letter expressing concern over Bill 7 in Ontario

RTOERO signed a joint letter to the Ontario Government to express grave concerns over Bill 7, More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022. Other signatories include: Alzheimer Society of Ontario, CanAge, La Fédération des aînés et des retraités francophones de l’Ontario, International Federation on Aging and Save your Skin Foundation.

Bill 7 amends the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021, to authorize the admission and transfer of patients currently occupying an Alternative Level of Care (ALC) bed in a hospital to a long-term care home without their consent. This means individuals can be moved to a long-term care home they haven’t chosen and may be moved a greater distance from their family and social supports.

RTOERO and the organizations that co-signed the letter outlined numerous concerns about this action, including the risk that a measure positioned as “temporary” may become status quo over time. Other concerns include:

  • The use of coercive tactics over consent
  • The potential for increased risk to the patient because of staffing shortages in long-term care homes
  • That the plan doesn’t consider the unique care needs of people living with dementia
  • The impact of patient transfers and proximity to family and social supports on the potential for injury and decline and the economic and social burden this places on families who want to be with their loved ones
  • That it’s unlikely these placements will be temporary for the individuals who are moved

The signatories offered solutions to the ongoing challenges within hospitals and long-term care homes, including:

  • an upstream approach with more home support programs, day programs, caregiver respite, counselling and more to reduce the reliance on hospitalization and long-term care 
  • increased supportive housing options
  • increased use of MINT Memory clinics
  • senior-friendly hospital practices to prevent delirium or functional decline while in hospital
  • reviewing the need for isolation beds in long-term care to reallocate beds back into available inventory
  • repealing Bill 124
  • immediately expanding the scope of practice for pharmacists to supplement family care and reduce pressures on hospitals during the fall/winter season

Read the full letter for details of the concerns and solutions.

If you’re also concerned about Bill 7, you can write your MPP. You’re welcome to use our letter to help develop your message. Find your MPP on the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website.

RTOERO members have identified three key advocacy issues we focus on: seniors strategy, geriatric healthcare and environmental stewardship. Some strategies include webinars to build an understanding of the issues, meetings with elected officials, responding to public consultations, issuing letters on political decisions, and awareness campaigns during elections.