Auditor General's Report Reinforces Need for Continued System Solutions

    MARKHAM, ON, Dec. 11 /CNW/ - OLTCA welcomes the provincial Auditor
General's report on medication management in long term care homes as a
reinforcing message to continue system initiatives and partnerships to further
strengthen resident care and safety.
    "The report supports the need to build on system measures such as the
Ministry's new critical incident reporting system and partnerships with
organizations such as the Institute for Safe Medication Management," said
Executive Director Karen Sullivan. "Homes will use the Auditor's
recommendations to review their own policies and practices; however, the
report also raises issues that homes are clearly unable to address in
    Ms. Sullivan noted that issues such as consistent definitions and
underreporting of medication errors are healthcare system issues. She also
pointed out that homes do not prescribe medications and, unlike hospitals,
they do not have on-site pharmacies.
    "We look forward to the Ministry's new Joint Task Force on Medication
Safety as a means of bringing the Ministry, the sector, physicians,
pharmacists and others together to improve data management, information
sharing, knowledge transfer and best practices to enhance resident care and
safety," she said. "This Task Force also provides an opportunity to explore a
comprehensive approach to the complex issue of informed consent in an
environment where this consent must often come from Substitute Decision Makers
who are not readily available or easily accessible."
    OLTCA believes that the Auditor General's report also strengthens the
case for government to fund the roll-out of MDS to all long term care homes by
2009 and explore the applications of other technologies.
    "MDS provides quality indicators that help homes track resident
medication outcomes," Ms. Sullivan said. "Also, providing homes with access to
bar coding technologies could potentially strengthen medication tracking and
record reconciliation."
    Ms. Sullivan noted that the Auditor's report clearly illustrates that
medication management carries a heavy administration and documentation load in
an already resource constrained environment.
    "We also believe there are opportunities to safely and efficiently
enhance processes that will lead to environmentally friendly medication
destruction. These processes, as well as other matters that will strengthen
overall resident care and safety, can and should be addressed during the
development of regulations under the new Long Term Care Homes Act," she said.
    OLTCA will be communicating the Auditor's recommendations to its members
and using the report to help inform future member education programs and as
part of the framework for its ongoing discussions with government on
medication management.

    OLTCA represents the private, not-for-profit, charitable and municipal
operators of 430 long term care homes that provide care and services to some
50,000 residents throughout Ontario.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contact: Gilbert Heffern, Director of
Communications and Public Affairs, (905) 470-8995, ext. 25; (647) 999-8341

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