Hospital patients waiting for LTC may be moved to a home not of their choice without consent

Health Minister Christine Elliott

Hospital patients waiting for long term care whose doctors say they can be transferred may be sent to a long term care home without their consent.

Ontario’s Health Minister is making the announcement now.

The news release says:

This temporary emergency order will provide hospitals with the flexibility to transfer patients whose doctors have determined no longer require hospital care to long-term care or retirement homes without obtaining the consent of the patient or, where the patient is incapable, their substitute decision maker. The amended order can only be used during major surge events where the demand for critical care threatens to overwhelm a hospital and compromise care. Hundreds of individuals in hospital are waiting to be discharged to a long-term care home or another more appropriate care setting and first priority will be given to patients with less complex care needs and those who are able to be moved close to their preferred choice.

Minister Christine Elliot says the move will be made “only when absolutely necessary” and when “doctors are certain that they will receive the care they need.” She says doctors will be trying to obtain consent first; and the move will be culturally appropriate so patients speak the same language as is spoken in the home.

The move would be temporary she adds until the patients will be moved once their long term care home of choice becomes available.

“The spread of COVID-19 variants continues to pose a significant threat to our health system’s critical care capacity and the lives of Ontarians,” said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “While this is an extremely difficult decision to make, the consequences of not doing so could be devastating if we don’t have the hospital beds we urgently need to care for the growing number of COVID-19 patients. Building on the more than 3,400 beds that have been added to the system since the beginning of the pandemic, our government will continue to take all necessary actions to ensure Ontarians have a safe place to be cared for in our hospitals.”