Health Bulletins

Minister's Statement on Appropriate Prescribing in Long-Term Care Homes

April 16, 2014

Today, Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, released the following statement on appropriate prescribing in long-term care homes :

"The care and safety of residents in long-term care homes is of paramount importance to me. We all have loved ones in long-term care homes, and we all want nothing but the best possible care for them. I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure long-term care residents get the care they deserve.

We all have a role to play to ensure the best care for our long-term care residents - and this includes appropriate prescribing of anti-psychotic medications. No one part of our health care system is to blame. The reality is that our population is aging, and as we do more to care for people in the community, it means that people living in long-term care homes do have more complex challenges. As a result, every part of our health care system - from doctors to resident care teams to administrators - must work together to ensure the best care for our long-term care residents.

There is also a growing recognition across the health care sector that residents who have challenging behaviours should receive non-pharmacologic care when possible.

That's why since 2011, our government has funded Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO), which encourages non-pharmaceutical interventions to address aggressive behaviour. We've hired over 600 full time staff through BSO who are working with residents and providing real results in long-term care homes.

We are also working with doctors in a constructive way to improve care in our long-term care homes. As part of the 2012 Physician Services Agreement between the Ontario Medical Association and the government, we created an appropriate prescribing working group and identified appropriate prescribing of anti-psychotics in long-term care homes as a priority. This working group is developing an academic detailing and education strategy pilot in long-term care homes that can be rolled out across the province.

This adds to the work that is being done by Ontario's Centres for Learning, Research, and Innovation in Long-Term Care, who are undertaking research and staff training to enable support of residents with complex behaviours. This includes work to analyze the use of the current medication evaluation tool to identify potentially inappropriate prescribing of medications for long-term care residents.

I am confident that these efforts across the health sector will help to improve the appropriateness of the care that we provide to our long-term care residents, and I am committed to working with our health sector partners, including doctors, to achieve this goal."

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