The COVID-19 crisis offers an opportunity to create a new, better normal at Canadian long-term residential care facilities.
The report’s short-term recommendations include: making all staff permanent and limiting their work to one nursing home; raising staff wages and benefits, especially sick leave; rapidly providing testing for all those living, working or visiting in homes; ensuring access to protective equipment immediately; and severely limiting transfers from hospitals.
In the long term, evidence suggests policymakers should more effectively integrate long-term residential care into the the public health care system, through federal legislation similar to the Canada Health Act, in order to develop a universal public long-term care plan that is accessible and adequately funded; stop privatization and promote non-profit ownership; ensure protective equipment is stockpiled for the future; build surge capacity into labour force planning and the physical structure of facilities; and establish and enforce minimum staffing levels and regulations.
Further reading on promising practices in long-term care
- Baines, D. & P. Armstrong (eds.). (2015/16). Promising practices in long-term care: Ideas worth sharing. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
- Armstrong, P. & S. Braedley (eds.). (2016). Physical environments for long-term care: Ideas worth sharing. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
- Armstrong, P. & T Daly. (2017). Exercising choice in long-term residential care. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
- Armstrong, P. & R. Lowndes (2018). Negotiating tensions in long-term residential care: Ideas worth sharing. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.