Advocai LLP remains extremely concerned with the lack of transparency and measures taken by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to address the safety of our vulnerable elderly and the staff in long-term care homes across Ontario. The public needs to have basic information relating to COVID 19 infections at each long-term care home in the Province to better understand the current risk factors at each home and what steps are being taken to address those risks.
Further to our open letter to the Minister of Long-Term Care, we have made a request for information under the Freedom of Information and Protection Act (FIPPA) to the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. We have requested information related to COVID 19 testing and screening, the availability of personal protective equipment, and the staff absenteeism rate at each long-term care home in Ontario. Families need to have access to this information so that they can make informed decisions about whether to take their loved ones home. We have seen articles setting out factors for individuals to consider when deciding whether to take a loved one out of long-term care. These include things like the individual’s care needs, the availability of assistive devices in the home, mobility etc. One of those considerations should be the risk of COVID 19 infection at a particular long-term care home. Right now residents and families are not in a position to understand and assess the risk of COVID 19 infection at a particular home. More should be done to track and publicize this information given that the majority of deaths related to COVID 19 in Ontario have been linked to long-term care homes.