Making a complaint within a health care setting has always been a delicate process.
It used to be in home care the terms of your service suggested that if you complained too much, you could actually lose service.
This may not have necessarily changed. We recently heard from a reader who suggested that complaints he made about the rushed nature of his wife’s home care resulted in a scaling back of service. Suddenly the respite care they received was reduced from once a week to every other week. How any individual could ever reasonably prove such cause and effect remains an open question.
Similarly in Ontario’s nursing homes a complaint can affect the relationship a resident has with staff who do provide care. For the frail elderly, this can be intimidating. It is therefore surprising that more than 2,000 complaints come into the provincial hotline each year that require subsequent investigation by an inspector.
When the province introduced the Excellent Care for All Act in 2010, hospitals were required to put in place practices for handling patient complaints. That includes reviewing and resolving complaints made by patients and caregivers, recording and monitoring key information about the complaints, and informing the complainant of the results of such a review.