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Long-term care consent bill making way through Queen’s Park despite opposition from health care advocates

Posted: August 26, 2022

(August 25, 2022)

By: Durham Radio News

The provincial government is reportedly looking to skip a public-hearing stage as they push through legislation affecting hospital patients waiting for long-term care.

Bill 7 would allow health care planners to decide how eligible a hospital patient is for long-term care, and then authorize them for admission into a temporary home without their consent. The patient could later be moved into a preferred facility once a spot opens up.

Government officials say the bill would free up acute care beds. They also say patients would not be physically forced into long-term care.

However, it remains unclear what would happen if a patient refuses to be moved into a home they haven’t chosen. Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra has said patients should be charged a fee if they opt to stay in hospital, although his office did not immediately say how much such a fee could be.

The government is looking to speed Bill 7 up to third reading, which would skip over the public hearing process.

Health care advocates have spoken against the bill, arguing it violates human rights.

“What we think it is about is filling up the beds of the worst long-term care homes that people do not want to go to, for good reason,” said Natalie Mehra, executive director of the Ontario Health Coalition, on August 19. “The government cannot override the rights of seniors to shore up the profits of long-term care operators with terrible records and reputations.”

“Forcing patients into homes that they are afraid to go to, that are substandard homes, potentially far away from their families, causes early death and suffering,” said Dr. Vivian Stamatopoulous, a long-term care advocate and professor at Ontario Tech University, that same day. “It is morally repugnant.”

“We are hearing that in Northern Ontario, patients could be sent to a facility up to 300 [kilometres] away,” said the Ontario Liberal Party on Thursday. “In the rest of Ontario, up to 100 [kilometres] away. And in cities, up to 30 [kilometres] away.”

“The majority of [alternate-level-of-care] (ALC) patients are not waiting for [long-term care],” said the Ontario Health Coalition on Thursday over Twitter. “The bill gives new powers to assess, share personal info [and] admit a patient into a [long-term care] home without their consent. The elderly [and] patients [with] disabilities have an equal right to care [and] not be deemed bed blockers.”

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