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Monday, 18 August 2014

Do LTC Homes in Ontario or Canada need a 'One Voice' organization?

In the Ontario Long Term Care Network discussion group of LinkedIn, Andréa Catizone posted a link to a blog post: What the Senior Living Industry Can Learn FromThe Evolution of The Hotel Industry

Following, are my comments after reading that blog post.

It's an interesting analogy, comparing senior living and nursing homes with hotels/motels but, like most analogies, it limps in some important respects apart from the obvious differences in populations.

1. The hotel/motel industry in the USA is highly competitive as operators try to fill beds that are often empty; every Ontario LTC Home has a rather long waiting list that is largely controlled by the local CCAC which affords special consideration for the most needy, driven in turn by the need for hospitals to vacate beds occupied by non-acute-care patients.

2. The Ontario Long-Term Care Act has resulted in a highly regulated licencing system and corresponding reporting (CIHI, HQO) and inspection systems that ensure, at least in intent, a minimum standard of care and quality of life for residents along with a Residents' Bill of Rights. I don't think that the US hotel system has anything close, does it?

3. The real or imagined need for most Ontario LTC home operators to have a good, strong public relations image has resulted in the quest for accreditation to a standard in certain operational aspects over and above the requirements for a licence from the Ministry. At least one LHIN, I am told, has made accreditation mandatory. Interestingly, a statistical analysis that I did showed no positive correlation between accreditation and regulatory compliance in the 82 homes making up the two LHINs of my study. See LTC Homes and Accreditation, parts 1 and 2 at tcmc Quality Management Serviceson YouTube.

The thing that drove the changes in the USA hotel industry is identified as the interstate highway system. Why? Because it channelled and redirected travellers. I would propose that the equivalent for Ontario seniors is the role played by the CCAC's; that, and the about-to-explode-with-boomers population of seniors. As a result, the change that I anticipate will be the creation of many more for-profit LTC homes as private enterprise sees long waiting lists and a booming senior population as a business opportunity.

The blog ends by asking the question (of US operators), who will step up and create a national "One Voice" organization for all Senior Living operators? The Ontario equivalent is, do seniors' organizations need something beyond OLTCA, OANHSS and the like? It's a good discussion, no doubt, but I don't see the evidence, nor do I hear the public saying that we have an urgent need for one unifying association for Long-Term Care Homes and seniors' care organizations. The pressing discussion in Canada seems to be reported in the latest CMA poll: Canadians want a national strategy for seniors health care:doctors report

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