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Health Advocates Claim Bill 7 Discriminates against Seniors

Posted: September 3, 2022

(September 2, 2022)

By: Randy Thoms, CKDR

The passing of Bill 7 has prompted renewed calls for the Ontario Human Rights Commission to investigate the level of care provided to seniors.

The controversial piece of legislation gives power to hospitals to move patients who no longer need acute care to a long-term home without consent, if necessary.

Some health advocacy groups say that discriminates against the elderly by suspending their right to consent.

Executive Director of the Ontario Health Coalition Natalie Mehra calls it egregious.

“It targets one class of patients, the frail elderly mostly, and people with disabilities who are waiting for access to long-term care beds, and we feel that it is discriminatory and that the human Rights Commissioner should weigh in,” says Mehra.

The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly and the Canadian Union of Public Employees are joining the Coalition in getting the Human Rights Commissioner involved.

They attempted during the pandemic for a similar inquiry.

They had expressed concern a disproportionate number of elderly patients designated as ‘Alternate Level of Care’ were not getting sufficient and individualized attention to their particular care needs.

“Patients designated ALC are routinely treated as ‘bed blockers’ who do not require hospital care and are systematically denied equitable access to publicly funded health care services in this province. Older adults also need more and better alternatives to long-term care that would help keep them out of the hospital and long-term care longer, if not entirely,” states Graham Webb, Executive Director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly.

The advocacy groups feel the government should be exploring alternatives to long-term care with in-home and community-based support services that help seniors stay out of the hospital and long-term care.

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