The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of federal government leadership in health care. The pandemic’s impact has been particularly dramatic in long-term care homes, exposing a fragmented system.
Standards, and conformity to those standards, will help ensure that Canada’s long-term care home settings are safe, properly supported and that the more than 250,000 residents who call them home are also receiving the quality of care they need and deserve. SCC, Health Standards Organization (HSO) and Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) are collaborating to develop two new complementary National Standards of Canada for long-term care.
Which gaps the standards will address?
The global pandemic has shone a light on the unique challenges within Canada’s long-term care sector. There are already a number of standards that exists for long-term care. Those two new standards will specifically address the safe and reliable delivery of high-quality care services and the operation and infection prevention and control of long-term care homes. Both standards will be informed by the lessons learned from the pandemic.
- The HSO National Long-Term Care Services Standard is intended to replace the existing HSO Long-Term Care Services standard (last updated in 2020). The new standard will take into account the lessons learned from COVID-19 and be based on the latest evidence-informed, resident and family-centred requirements of high-quality care and services. In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, HSO will be revising this standard to bring the voice of residents, families and Canada’s LTC workforce to the forefront and will focus on resident-centred, safe, reliable, high-quality care based on evidence informed practices.
- The CSA Group National Standard of Canada for Long-Term Care Services will be focused on safe operating practices and infection prevention and control in long-term care homes. CSA Group already has in existence a number of standards addressing different aspects of long-term care homes. The new standard will be informed by the existing standards and also take into account the specific lessons from COVID in particular in relation to infection prevention and control.
What is SCC’s role?
We work with a vast network of partners, which includes standards development organizations such as CSA Group and HSO, provincial and territorial governments, regulators, Canadian experts and others to promote the value of standards and conformity assessment.
We are also Canada’s leading accreditation organization. We ensure conformity assessment bodies and standards development organizations demonstrate technical competence, reliability and integrity against nationally and internationally recognized standards. Both CSA Group and HSO are standards development organizations accredited by SCC. Only standards development organizations that are accredited by SCC can issue National Standards of Canada.
SCC will ultimately review the development process for standards submitted for approval as National Standards of Canada. SCC is also funding the development of the two new National Standards of Canada for long-term care.
How National Standards of Canada are developed?
Our rigorous standards development process is founded on consensus-based decisions and relies on the input from a broad range of stakeholders through public reviews.
To develop a National Standard of Canada, the standard must be developed in accordance with the Requirements & Guidance – Accreditation of Standards Development Organizations.
Key requirements include, but are not limited to:
- development by consensus from a balanced committee of stakeholders
- public scrutiny
- publishing in both of Canada’s official languages
- being consistent with (or incorporating) existing international and pertinent foreign standards
- not acting as a barrier to trade
- maintenance, generally through periodic review (five-year cycle) or as changes are needed
The periodic review can result in confirmation that the technical content is still valid or a revision or withdrawal of the NSC. This is done to ensure the ongoing relevance and currency of standards.
For more information, please consult https://www.scc.ca/en/standards/what-are-standards/developing-standards.