Ottawa –Today, the Audit Committee and the Community and Protective Services Committee each received independent reviews of the City’s long-term care homes. At the Audit Committee, Auditor General Ken Hughes presented a review of the management of medications and an investigation into the reporting of a 2017 incident at a long-term care home. At the Community and Protective Services Committee, Greg Fougère, a consultant hired by the City to review its long-term care homes, presented his findings, which followed 240 interviews over several months.
These reviews are the third and fourth independent reviews of the City’s long-term care services following the issuance of a Compliance Order to the City by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The other two reviews were the Compliance Plans approved by the Ministry and a comprehensive stakeholder engagement exercise. All four reviews took place over the same time, from late 2017 to early 2018. The results that came from each review were consistent, and complemented or built on the others. Each of the reviews and resulting work plans were shared with stakeholders, along with regular updates.  The constant feedback loop allowed staff to review and refine their work plans to reflect the findings and recommendations of the reviewers, and address the gaps identified.     
The result is a consolidated work plan with 84 specific recommendations in the areas of staffing, quality improvements in policies and programs, investments in capital and technology infrastructure, communications, and resident care and service delivery improvements. Of the 84 recommendations, 18 have been completed, 43 are in progress and 23 have not yet been started.
The Community and Protective Services Committee heard that additional staff are needed to ensure that residents receive more personal and nursing care than they do now. The Mayor and Chair Diane Deans moved that 35 additional support staff be hired as soon as possible in 2018, with an immediate, part-year investment of $800,000. This motion was approved by the Committee.                     
This is in addition to the recommended $1-million capital investment for urgent equipment upgrades of items like beds and lifts, and for staff training and improved technology at the long-term care homes. The Finance and Economic Development Committee will consider this recommendation tomorrow.
While many of the 84 recommendations do not have budget implications, staff will bring forward any additional funding needed to implement the work plan through the 2019 budget process.
“I am pleased that we could bring forward this proposal to immediately hire 35 additional Personal Support Workers, which will help us address some of the most pressing challenges identified. I wish to thank City staff and Greg Fougère for their efforts on this file, and I look forward to working with them to ensure we provide better services to our seniors living in long-term care homes.”
Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa
“The Auditor General has done thorough, timely work with two audit reports involving the City’s long-term care homes. I thank the Auditor General and his team for work that will result in more support for our staff, stronger management and better service for the more than 700 residents of our long-term care homes.”
Councillor Allan Hubley, Chair, Audit Committee
“Our external expert, Greg Fougère, has produced valuable insights into the strengths and areas for improvement in the City’s long-term care. The city needs to address the concerns raised in a comprehensive and timely manner. I thank the staff who have worked so hard to maintain quality care in our homes through this period of examination. I thank our residents, their families and the hundreds of volunteers who help in the homes for their ongoing support through a challenging time. Our goal is to improve care and support staff to provide the best possible quality of life for residents.”
Councillor Diane Deans, Chair, Community and Protective Services Committee
The Committee’s recommendation for urgent investment in the front-line staff that provide direct care to residents, along with the capital funds being recommended tomorrow, will allow staff to move more quickly on the changes that are needed to close the gaps in our long-term care homes. If approved by Council, this will make a material difference to our residents, their families and our staff beginning this year.”
Steve Kanellakos, City Manager