TORONTO, June 20, 2012 /CNW/ - The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care
is sending inspectors out to conduct investigations which they are not
educated and trained to do says the Ontario Public Service Employees
Union. Nursing home residents are being placed at risk to save money on
OPSEU says prior to July 2010, when new laws came into force, nursing
inspectors would investigate complaints and critical incidents
including issues of abuse or activities of daily living, such as
continence care, hygiene, behaviour management, wound management or
falls. The nursing inspections require a review of clinical records,
progress notes, medication records and a resident's medical diagnosis.
The other two types of inspectors, dietary and environmental, would
focus their inspections only on issues relating to their area of
education and training.
"Now these dietary and environmental inspectors are being asked to
evaluate the residents' care records - which are completely out of
their scope of practice," says Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President of the
130,000 member OPSEU. "Not only that, but these inspectors have never
had any training in how to navigate the various software programs the
homes use in order to review the resident health records. They have
little idea whether or not what they are looking at is relevant."
Environmental inspectors are certified public health inspectors with
expertise in infection prevention and control. They look at such issues
as maintenance, housekeeping, infection control, safety, building
security and pest control.
Dietary inspectors are registered dietitians with expertise in nutrition
care and hydration, food production, menu planning and clinical record
reviews related to weights and food and fluid intakes for example.
Meanwhile, the nurses are being asked to do inspections that include
issues related to pest control, door security, maintenance and
environmental infection control - an area of expertise normally covered
by the environmental inspectors.
The inspectors say they have to rely heavily on their specialty
discipline colleagues for assistance with their inspection reports, to
ensure they have captured everything correctly. The inspectors become
ultimately accountable for these reports.
"The government is trying to save money by sending inappropriate
inspectors out to conduct inspections they are not trained for," says
Thomas. "This completely undermines the process."
Last year there were nearly 6,000 complaints and critical incidents the
inspectors were asked to investigate. That's on top of the more
detailed annual inspections - sometimes referred to as "resident
quality inspections" (RQI) which take more than two weeks to complete.
With the limited number of inspectors available, many homes will not
receive a detailed inspection for years. Most homes in Ontario received
their last full inspection prior to 2010.
Last week OPSEU reported the shortage of adequately educated and trained
inspectors has led to lengthy delays in investigating these complaints
and critical incident reports.
New legislation enacted in July 2010 requires the homes to report many
different types of critical incidents such as abuse and injuries - all
of which must be investigated. Coupled with increases in complaints
regarding resident care issues, the number of inspectors has not kept
up with the workload.
For further information:
Rick Janson: 416-443-8888 ext 8383 (w) 416-525-3324 (c)
More on this issue is available at http://diablogue.org