Concerned Friends began in 1980 when a group of concerned citizens met to discuss the lack of care in Long-Term Care Homes. In 1982 we were incorporated as a registered charity in Ontario and remain funded solely by supporter donations.
We are a volunteer-run organization governed by a Board of Directors with committees that work to support the Board in delivering on our strategic priorities. Our mission is to advance the health and well-being and enrich the experiences of those living in long-term care homes across Ontario – over 90% of which are 65 years and older.
Our vision is a system where individuals living in long-term care homes have access to health and support services that best meet their diverse needs; where every person has a voice that is heard and rights that are respected. Those being served feel safe, cared for, and part of a vibrant inclusive community. A central component of the work that Concerned Friends does is in amplifying the voices of residents and their families toward systemic change that improves standards and quality of care but also in holding space for individuals and families to process, find hope, and feel resourced and empowered to take next steps on behalf of those in care.
Our efforts focus on three key areas:
1) Wayfinding Program: Formalizing, training and resourcing a group of committed volunteers to provide empathetic support to individuals and families seeking assistance and information in navigating the Long Term Care system in Ontario. Our team provides information to residents, their relatives, and the public concerning their rights and responsibilities under government legislation.
2) Outreach: Diversifying and expanding our reach to ensure that those who need support can find us. We aim to increase awareness of current issues and resources regarding long-term care homes via our quarterly newsletter, website, social media channels, and media releases.
3) Education and Advocacy: Informing the government and residents of Ontario about the current and emerging needs in the long-term care sector. We bring LTC related concerns to the attention of the provincial government and work for constructive changes in regulations and policies. We track and analyze LTC inspection reports and provide an annual summary report card on accountability and trends.
To advance the health and well-being and enrich the experiences of those living in long-term care homes across Ontario.
A system where individuals living in long-term care homes have access to health and support services that best meet their diverse needs; where every person has a voice that is heard, and rights that are respected. Those being served feel safe, cared for, and part of a vibrant inclusive community.
Compassion • Dignity & Respect • Collaboration • Accountability • Pursuit of Excellence
One of our great achievements was the creation of Family Councils in 1998. We applied for and received a grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation to create the pilot project.
Family Councils became legislated within the Ontario Long Term Care Homes Act, and there are Family Councils running in the majority of the 630 facilities across the province today. Some of them have formed powerful networks.
Under Section 60(1) of the Act, Family Councils advise licensees of any concerns or recommendations they have about the operation of the home. They can also report concerns to the Director of the ministry’s inspection branch. They can also review the home’s financial statements and detailed allocations of government funding.
After a Family Council advises a licensee of a concern or recommendation, the licensee is required to respond to the Family Council in writing within 10 days.
To learn how to set up a Family Council or a network of Family Councils in your area, contact Family Councils Ontario at fco.ngo.