Health Canada boosts pandemic preparedness in long-term care

Nov 24, 2020

Ottawa (ON) and Edmonton (AB) – Today, the newly amalgamated organization that brings together the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement announced a $2.05 million investment from Health Canada to support long-term care (LTC) and retirement homes across the country to strengthen their pandemic preparedness and response.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the LTC and retirement home sector in Canada hard. Canada has a higher reported proportion of COVID-19 deaths for LTC residents than other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries, with nearly 80 percent of early COVID-19 deaths occurring in LTC and retirement homes.1

In response, nearly 300 homes are participating in the LTC+ Acting on Pandemic Learning Together program being delivered by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute and Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. LTC+ supports teams delivering healthcare for older adults in congregate living settings to rapidly share with and learn from each other, prepare for possible future outbreaks, and mitigate the pandemic’s effects through coaching, funding, virtual learning opportunities and national huddles.

LTC+ focuses on six promising practices to strengthen pandemic preparedness and response: preparation; prevention; people in the workforce; pandemic response and surge capacity; planning for COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care; and presence of family.

“We owe it to those affected by early outbreaks of COVID-19 in long-term care and retirement homes to learn from their experiences and hard-won lessons. This additional funding from Health Canada will support 200 more homes to join efforts to accelerate the adoption of promising practices that can strengthen pandemic preparedness and high-quality care,” says Jennifer Zelmer, President and CEO of the amalgamated CPSI and CFHI.

“This program produces connections with other homes facing similar pressures. It is a source of inspiration and we can learn from others’ experience. Having this expertise at your fingertips is extremely valuable,” says Jen Plant, Director of Clinical Practice, the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre (Ottawa, ON), one of the homes participating in LTC+.

Quick Facts:

  • LTC+ Acting on Pandemic Learning Together was launched in August 2020 following a report – Reimagining Care for Older Adults: Next Steps in COVID-19 Response in Long-Term Care and Retirement Homes.
  • LTC+ is being delivered by CPSI and CFHI with the support of Health Canada, CMA Foundation, BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, the New Brunswick Association of Nursing Homes and CADTH to help ensure efforts continue to be aligned with needs across the country.
  • The $2 million boost from Health Canada brings the total funding to support LTC and retirement homes through the LTC+ program to $4.5 million. This includes a recent $2 million grant from the CMA Foundation.
  • More information about the program can be found via cfhi-fcass.ca/LTC.
  • Teams that register by December 19 will be able to apply for up to $10,000 in funding to use to strengthen their pandemic preparedness and response, as well as coaching support. Teams are using funding in a variety of ways including the purchase of personal protective equipment, staff time to enable a focus on pandemic preparedness, mental health training/support for the workforce or equipment to support virtual care. Teams can register via CFHI website.
  • The $2.05 million funding is in addition to nearly $25 million in annual funding that CPSI and CFHI receive from Health Canada to deliver improvements in healthcare quality and safety.

The newly amalgamated organization that brings together CFHI and CPSI works with partners to share proven healthcare innovations and best practices in patient safety and quality. Working together with patients and other partners, we can deliver lasting improvement in patient experience, work life of healthcare providers, value for money and the health of everyone in Canada. The organization is a not-for-profit charity funded by Health Canada. Visit cfhi-fcass.ca and patientsafetyinstitute.ca for more information.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent the views of Health Canada.

For more information, or to arrange media interviews, please contact:
Ashlee Biggs, Senior Communications Lead
613-728-2238 / Ashlee.Biggs@cfhi-fcass.ca 


1Canadian Institute for Health Information. Pandemic Experience in the Long-Term Care Sector: How Does Canada Compare With Other Countries?. Ottawa, ON: CIHI; 2020; accessed on June 25, 2020: https://www.cihi.ca/sites/default/files/document/covid-19-rapid-response-long-term-care-snapshot-en.pdf