Use of restraints in Ontario’s long-term care homes has been cut in half in just four years 

New Health Quality Ontario (HQO) report provides critical new information on performance and quality improvement in Ontario’s long-term care homes

TORONTO, October 14, 2015 - The Ontario Long Term Care Association welcomed today’s release of Health Quality Ontario’s (HQO) annual report on the health system, Measuring Up, calling it an opportunity to celebrate quality improvement efforts in Ontario’s long-term care homes and highlighting the need to provide additional support to homes to expand their efforts.

Long-term care homes showed either improvement or relative stability on three key measures of care, including restraint usage, falls, and new or worsening pressure ulcers. “Homes have either held steady or improved during a time of intense change, when new residents have become increasingly medically complex and with a higher rate of dementia,” said Candace Chartier, RN, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "These results demonstrate that long-term care homes are successfully creating a culture of person-centred care and quality improvement.”

Chartier noted that restraint use in particular has dropped from 16.1% to 7.4 % in just four years (2010/11 to 2014/15). "The decrease in restraint use benefits our residents tremendously, both in their health and quality of life," she said.

"There is still more work to do, but overall we're pleased that our hard work is seeing results," said Chartier.

The Association pointed to data which demonstrates the increasing needs of seniors in long-term care homes. Seniors who come to long-term care are at a much more advanced stage of physical and cognitive decline than they were in the past. The vast majority (93%) of residents have two or more chronic health conditions; 62% of residents live with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia; and 46% display some level of aggressive behavior related to their dementia or mental health. 

To help support the increasing needs of residents, the Association has renewed calls to government to implement recommendations to strengthen the quality of care homes are providing to approximately 100,000 seniors every year.  The Association is calling for immediate action to continue to improve seniors’ care in Ontario, including: 
  • Implementing a plan to modernize every long-term care home in Ontario that has been classified as outdated by the province – increasing the quality of care to the 35,000 seniors who live in these homes.
  • Providing the necessary funding to ensure that long-term care home operators can hire the staff required to care for the growing needs of our aging population. 
  • Establishing dedicated dementia and mental health support teams in every home, ensuring the safety and comfort of the more than 65,000 seniors living in long-term care homes with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

About the Ontario Long Term Care Association 

The Ontario Long Term Care Association is the largest association of long-term care providers in Ontario and the only association that represents the full mix of long-term care operators – private, not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal. Our members provide care and accommodation services to over 70,000 residents annually in 437 long-term care homes in communities throughout Ontario. 

For further information: 
Adrienne Spafford, Director, Strategy & Public Affairs, 416.272.0120,