January 30th, 2023
Fairness by Design and Long-term Care Placement
This past fall, the More Beds, Better Care Act, 2022 came into effect.
For hospital patients who have been deemed “alternate level of care” and are waiting for long-term care placement, the act allows placement coordinators to carry out certain steps of the long-term placement process without patients’ consent. For example, it allows placement coordinators to select long-term care homes and share the patient’s application and health information with the homes.
While the act helps move patients who no longer need hospital care into long-term care homes, freeing up much-needed hospital beds, it also makes some significant changes to the long-term care placement process.
It’s important to recognize that moving from home or hospital into a long-term care home is a significant transition for many seniors and their families.
Patient Ombudsman sees many complaints related to hospital discharge and care transitions, with patients and caregivers frequently reporting concerns about poor communication, inconsistent information, and pressure to rush important decisions.
Several of our past annual reports have highlighted these kinds of complaints to try to shine a light on the hospital discharge process and the importance of clear communication during the long-term care placement process. Both stories show how important it is to ensure the long-term care placement process is fair and includes patients and caregivers.
One way health care organizations can better ensure decisions around long-term care placement are made in a fair manner is to incorporate fairness into their processes and review their decision-making through a fairness lens. The concept of using fairness standards when creating policies and reviewing your decisions at the outset is “fairness by design.”
Patient Ombudsman has developed a resource to help hospitals and Home and Community Care Support Service organizations evaluate the fairness of how they implement their long-term care placement processes. In addition to the main resource, we have also developed a one-page checklist that highlights the main questions to keep top of mind.
By keeping the patient’s needs in mind, health care organizations can help make the long-term care placement process as smooth as possible.