In the spring of 2021, Health Standards Organization (HSO) invited Canadians to complete its Inaugural National Survey on Long-Term Care (LTC) to get a better sense of their views on what an optimal future state of LTC ought to look like in Canada. The following report provides highlights from the 16,093 responses that were received between March 31 and July 31, 2021, to help HSO’s National Long-Term Care Services Technical Committee develop the new National LTC Services Standard.
What We Heard
We begin the report by providing an overview of the demographic profile of survey respondents by age, gender, race, ability, language, geographic location, and relationship to long-term care.
When asked about “the most important issue to address within LTC,” respondents gave the following key issues: ensuring the provision of high-quality care, ensuring the safety of LTC residents and staff while respecting the rights of residents, ensuring a well-supported, strong and capable LTC workforce, ensuring appropriate LTC funding exists to support the provision of high-quality care, and ensuring greater transparency and accountability and reconsidering the provision of for-profit LTC care.
The remainder of the report unpacks key issues identified by survey respondents. We start by presenting what we heard from survey respondents with respect to their awareness of existing long-term care standards (e.g., 79.5% of survey respondents were aware that standards are currently being used in long-term care in Canada). Next, we present survey respondents’ opinions regarding whether or not long-term care homes in Canada are providing safe, reliable, and high-quality care (e.g., 67% of survey respondents did not feel that long-term care homes in Canada were providing safe, reliable, and high-quality care).
When asked what was most important when it comes to the provision of “resident- and family-centred care practices that value the importance of respect, dignity, trust and quality of life” in LTC homes, survey respondents’ answers fell within the following themes: prioritizing the rights, needs, and satisfaction of residents; caring, compassionate, and competent interprofessional care teams; and an environment that upholds the qualities of home.
When asked what was most important when it comes to the provision of “safe, reliable, and high-quality care” in long-term care homes, the following themes summarize answers provided by survey respondents: the reimaging of long-term care as a true continuum of care; adequate funding; responsible national standards and governance; and enhanced organizational accountability and transparency.
When asked what was most important when it comes to maintaining a “healthy and competent workforce” in long-term care homes, answers provided by survey respondents are represented by the following themes: job security; prioritizing the health and safety of the long-term care workforce; an affirming, positive, and supportive work environment; and education and licensing standards.
When asked what was most important when it comes to the environment, operations and maintenance of long-term care homes to improve the quality of life of residents and families, survey respondents’ answers fell within the following themes: aiming to enhance resident quality of life; ensuring safety and security of residents and staff; and striving for the highest standards of cleanliness and maintenance.
This section of the report concludes by summarizing survey respondents’ opinions on whether or not long-term care homes should be required to meet standards (e.g., 99.4% of survey respondents felt LTC homes should be required to meet standards).
Where Do We Go From Here?
We conclude by offering an overview of the next steps in HSO’s public engagement that will inform the development of HSO’s new National LTC Services Standard—which will be released for public review in early 2022 and then completed in the fall of 2022.