June 11, 2012
Due to a high number of nursing home abuse complaints and not enough staff, Ontario’s new goal of annual inspections at nursing homes is being severely delayed.
With 630 nursing homes in Ontario and only about 120 inspections performed each year the Ministry of Health’s 74 inspectors are very understaffed.
Elder advocacy groups say the government is backpedaling on its promise of an annual in-depth inspection at all nursing homes. The government now says any inspection will suffice, as long as there is at least one per year.
These inspections are usually prompted by complaints but don’t do the work of catching problems before they start. In-depth inspections are needed as a preemptive measure against abuse and neglect.
A nursing home abuse attorney at Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says we are now leaving it up to nursing homes to regulate themselves, leaving the door open for abusive practices to continue without intervention.
The Ministry of Health received over 2,700 nursing home complaints in 2011.