As of this month, Ontario retirement homes and retirement communities will begin operating under licenses for the first time. The Ontario Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority now requires all retirement homes in Ontario to apply for a licence by July 3.
Ontario retirement communities with retirement homes – which are residential complexes or part of a complex, occupied primarily by people 65 years of age or older and providing at least two care services to residents – will need to provide such detailed information as the owners’ personal and financial history, presence of automatic water sprinklers in suites, staff training programs, and experience with patient-care demands.
Laurie Johnston, CEO of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA), told the Toronto Star that she believes the Ontario Retirement Homes Authority will help raise standards even more than the already high level set in most Ontario retirement communities. “The whole purpose is to raise the bar in the sector,” she said.
ORCA has set its own standards for resident care, emergency planning and food and meal services its members: about 80 percent of the retirement communities and retirement homes in Ontario.
The new requirements include posting a “residents’ bill of rights”, which includes the right to know what care services are provided and what they cost; the right to choice of care services by qualified and trained staff or by external care providers; the right to respect for lifestyle choices; and the right to participate fully in making care decisions and develop the plan of care; among other rights.
Additional Ontario retirement home regulations will be phased in through next year, and by the beginning of 2014, the Ontario Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority will be able to hold retirement homes accountable for a full range of practices.