TORONTO — Ontario’s patient ombudsman has released a series of recommendations on reforming the province’s long-term care system to prepare for a resurgence of COVID-19.
The office began a formal investigation into long-term care in June after receiving hundreds of complaints in the early days of the pandemic.
In a special report made public Thursday, ombudsman Cathy Fooks says that investigation continues.
However, her office is making four “preliminary recommendations” aimed at improving Ontario’s response to COVID-19 and preparing for a second wave in long-term care.
The first is for all health-care providers to have backstops and contingency plans in place to deal with an outbreak of the novel coronavirus.
The other recommendations include enhanced whistleblower protections, dedicated communications resources and a new approach to visitation.
“What is clear is that we must prevent what happened from happening again,” Fooks said in the report.
As of Thursday morning, 1,876 long-term care residents and eight staff members had died of COVID-19 in Ontario.