Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario: Accreditation Status
To date, we’ve published four resources to assist researchers interested in studying Long-Term Care (LTC) Homes and Retirement Homes in Ontario:
- Consolidated Dataset of LTC Homes (May 9, 2020)
- Consolidated Dataset of Retirement Homes (May 14, 2020)
- Index to Reports of Inspections Issued to LTC Homes (May 18, 2020)
- Index to Reports of Inspections Issued to Retirement Homes (May 20, 2020)
One of our primary sources for the Consolidated Dataset of LTC Homes was the Ontario government’s Reports on Long-Term Care Homes (RLTCH) website.
Based upon information gathered from the RLTCH website, the Consolidated Dataset of LTC Homes indicates that 520 of 626 (83.1%) LTC Homes are accredited by one of two national bodies recognized by the Ontario government.
Home Reports (e.g. Algoma District Homes for the Aged) on the RLTCH website include the following definition:
Accreditation is a voluntary process that LTC homes may use to assess their services and help them improve the quality, safety and efficiency of their performance for the benefit of their residents and the health system.
The process of Accreditation encourages an organization to:
- Assess services and determine where to focus improvement efforts
- Develop standardized processes to improve efficiency
- Mitigate risk and support the uptake of best practices
- Build a culture of quality, safety and excellence
- Publicly promote their commitment to offering safe, high-quality services.
Long-term care (LTC) homes apply for accreditation to Accreditation Canada or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Details for each organization, as well as the method for achieving accreditation may be found at the following websites:
- Accreditation Canada: http://www.accreditation.ca/
- Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities: http://www.carf.org/home/
Accreditation is supposed to mean (and signal to government and the public) that a health care provider, like an LTC Home, is governed and operates to deliver services of superior value compared with services required by provincial licensing standards.
Indeed, the Ontario government awards an “accreditation premium” in funding LTC Homes – a point that CARF highlighted when the Ontario government recognized its organization in December 2008 as an option for LTC Homes seeking accreditation.
The recent outbreak of COVID-19 in LTC Homes – accounting for the vast majority of deaths in Ontario and many other jurisdictions – has focused attention on the ownership, operation, and oversight of LTC Homes. Concerns have been raised about for-profit LTC Homes specifically and the government’s reduced licensing inspection of LTC Homes generally.
To our knowledge, there has been little attention paid to the contribution made – or not made – by the accreditation to the prevention and control of COVID-19 infection in LTC Homes in Ontario.
Working with Accreditation Canada’s dataset of accredited organizations in Canada was pretty straightforward. We downloaded the dataset and extracted organizations that met two criteria: Province=”Ontario“ and Sector=”Long Term Care“. The resulting dataset is available for download as a CSV format file or Excel format file.
Working with CARF’s website was more challenging and time-consuming. Using the website’s Advanced Provider Search API, we obtained links to Profiles of 272 organizations that met three criteria: State/Province=”ON“, Country=”CANADA“, and Program=”Person-Centered Long-Term Care Community“.
Every researcher has their favourite tools for automating the collection of this sort of information. We won’t bother detailing our approach; however, to allow others to review the results, we have made the source code of the Profiles of LTC Homes in Ontario on CARF’s website available as a ZIP file.
Links within the Profiles of LTC Homes in Ontario allowed us to automate the collection of information related to their accreditation by CARF. The resulting dataset is available for download as a CSV format file or Excel format file.
A word of caution: Like the rest of my experience working with publicly-available datasets recently, has met with all the usual frustrations – and then some – that comes with data-wrangling. A single case-in-point here:
On June 1, 2020, the Ontario government reported that 29 residents of the Pinecrest Nursing Home (Bobcaygeon) had died from COVID-19. The same day, the Ontario government’s Reports on Long-Term Care Homes reported that Pinecrest Nursing Home (Bobcaygeon) was not accredited – while Accreditation Canada listed Pinecrest Nursing Home (Bobcaygeon) among its accredited LTC Homes.
This work, including the database, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. If you should use this work, please credit Paul Allen, firstname.lastname@example.org.