Ontario hospital patients waiting for long-term care beds could be moved outside their community: sources

The Ford government is planning to allow health officials to move alternate health care patients out of hospitals and into long-term care, even if it's away from their home community. Cynthia Mulligan has the exclusive details.

By Cynthia Mulligan and Meredith Bond

The Ford government is planning to introduce legislation Thursday that will allow health officials to move people who are in hospital waiting for a long-term care bed into a home that is not in their community, according to senior government sources.

Senior government sources tell CityNews this means if a doctor says a patient no longer needs a hospital bed and should be in long term care, that patient can be moved to an available bed, even if it is further away from where they want to be.

The change will begin within a few weeks and the government hopes it will initially free up 250 beds in the next few months.

One of the main challenges hospitals have been facing this summer is a clogged system. Currently, almost 5,000 beds or 24 per cent are taken up by patients waiting to be discharged from the hospital to a different location. Almost 1,850 of those beds are those are waiting to go into long-term care.

“If it’s a choice of getting people moving in a reasonable or compassionate way versus hospital capacity, we’ll move people in a reasonable and compassionate way,” said the source.

There will also reportedly be clear guidelines of how far someone would go, including that a spouse would have to be able to visit.

The strain on hospitals has been in the spotlight in the last few months as some emergency rooms were forced to close due to staffing shortages.

Interim NDP leader Peter Taubins said they are strongly opposed to the change. “What it appears they are doing is making life extraordinarily difficult for a whole bunch of frail people now whose families are going to be really upset.”

Last week, Premier Doug Ford hinted that change was coming, making a point of noting that patients are better off in a long-term care home than a hospital. “They actually get better, more focused care in long-term care.”

The government has not confirmed any details of the legislation at this point.

Health Minister Sylvia Jones and Minister of Long-Term Care Paul Calandra are expected to make the announcement at 9 a.m.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today