Ombudsman to investigate cases of people with developmental disabilities who are inappropriately housed in hospitals
March 27, 2023
27 March 2023
Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today announced a new investigation into the plight of adults with developmental disabilities who are inappropriately housed in hospital due to a lack of supports and services in the community.
(TORONTO – March 27, 2023) Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dubé today announced a new investigation into the plight of adults with developmental disabilities who are inappropriately housed in hospital due to a lack of supports and services in the community.
The Ombudsman informed the Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services (MCCSS) and the Ministry of Health that he will investigate whether they are taking adequate steps to ensure that these inappropriately hospitalized individuals are transitioned to appropriate community placements.
“It is particularly concerning that vulnerable individuals with complex needs are in hospital – often for long periods – despite having no medical need to be there,” Ombudsman Dubé said. “They are often kept in restraints, and their condition deteriorates the longer they remain in hospital settings, according to those who have complained to us.”
The investigation will examine what obstacles, including access to appropriate French language services, are preventing the transfer of these individuals out of hospital, and how the ministries are addressing them.
The Ombudsman previously investigated systemic issues faced by hundreds of adults with developmental disabilities in a range of crisis situations, including many who were in hospital because other placements were not available. His 2016 report, Nowhere to Turn, made 60 recommendations to MCCSS, all of which were accepted, and five of which specifically dealt with individuals identified as “alternate level of care” patients in hospitals. This new investigation will include a review of the Ministry’s progress on these recommendations.
The investigation will be led by the Special Ombudsman Response Team, which specializes in systemic investigations, with assistance from the French Language Services Unit.
About the Ontario Ombudsman: The Office of the Ombudsman resolves and investigates more than 25,000 public complaints and inquiries per year about provincial government bodies (e.g., ServiceOntario, Family Responsibility Office, Ontario Disability Support Program, Landlord and Tenant Board), as well as child protection services, French language services, municipalities, universities and school boards. The Ombudsman’s systemic investigations have benefited millions of Ontarians and prompted widespread reforms, including improved newborn screening, a more secure lottery system, better tracking of inmates in segregation and enhanced drug funding.
For more information, contact:
Linda Williamson, Director of Communications