On the Radar from CLEO
CLEO On The Radar
June 2022
New rules to prevent abuse in home and community care
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is marked on June 15 each year. Honouring this day helps to put elder abuse in the spotlight as an important public health and human rights' issue. And it's a reminder that abuse, neglect, and improper or incompetent care are preventable.
CLEO has a new Guided Pathway for responding to elder abuse. See more details below.
Abuse complaints about home and community care
One important way to combat elder abuse is to understand how to make a complaint when people are getting home and community care services. The rules about this changed on May 1, 2022. The new requirements are set out in changes to the Connecting Care Act, 2019 and a new Regulation, O.Reg. 187/22, made under that Act.
Many older adults receive care services that are paid for by the Ontario government. They get these services in their homes, health clinics, and other places in the community.
Care services that are provided in the home or community are now co-ordinated regionally by Home and Community Care Support Services (HCCSS). They used to be called Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).
Ontario Health Teams (OHTs) and Health Service Providers (HSPs) give or arrange for these services. And they're responsible for protecting people from abuse when they're getting services.
OHTs and HSPs must have both an abuse prevention plan and written complaint processes for anyone who wants to complain about their services. They must also make sure that any other HSPs they use to provide care services are following the new rules.
Abuse prevention plan
Abuse can take many forms. It can be physical, sexual, mental, emotional, verbal, or financial. All care providers must have an abuse prevention plan that includes education and training for their employees and volunteers on:
  • how to recognize abuse, and
  • what to do when it occurs.
Complaint processes
Care providers must also have written complaint processes. People who want to make a complaint about their services have the right to be given a copy of these processes when they ask for it. It must tell them how to make a complaint and when to expect a response. It should also say what types of complaints can be appealed if they're not satisfied with the response.
New complaint process for abuse, neglect, or poor care
There is a new process for complaints about abuse, neglect, or improper or incompetent care that causes harm or a risk of harm. All OHTs and HSPs offering home and community care services must revise their complaint processes to include it.
This type of complaint can be made by the person getting services, a family member, another caregiver, or anyone else who becomes aware of the situation. They can make the complaint against the OHT or HSP, or their staff members, employees, or contractors.
When someone makes this type of complaint, the OHT or HSP must immediately:
  • confirm that they got the complaint, and
  • start to investigate it.
Within 10 days, they must tell the person who made the complaint what they've done about it.
And they must complete their investigation within a "reasonable" time and make a written report that says whether the complaint was valid. The law does not say what amount of time is reasonable.
If the investigator agrees that the complaint is valid, the report must include:
  • what's been done about the complaint, and
  • how they'll stop something similar from happening again.
There's no right to appeal the investigator's findings. But if this complaint process is completed, the person can make a complaint to Ontario's Patient Ombudsman.
Where to get help
There are many organizations in Ontario that can provide legal help and information about elder abuse.
Guided Pathway for responding to elder abuse
CLEO's Guided Pathway for responding to elder abuse has information and resources that help to understand, prevent, and respond to elder abuse and violence.
The pathway asks questions, gives information, and puts the user's answers into a safety plan. Users can also save notes and information to a personalized checklist. The pathway is free to use.
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Steps to Justice logo
Related resources
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Canadian Network for Prevention of Elder Abuse
Preventing and Addressing Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults
Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO)
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Toronto, ON M5G 1Z8