What can I do if I see abuse in a long-term care home?

This question is for people who live, work, or visit a . It explains what to do if you see or suspect that a resident is being abused.

There’s more general information about ways to help someone who’s being abused in What can I do if an older adult is being abused?

If you’re someone who’s being abused, read more in I’m an older adult. How can I protect myself from abuse?

There are also laws to protect older adults with developmental disabilities from abuse.

If a crime is being committed

If a resident in a long-term care home is being hurt or threatened, call 911. Police have the right to investigate any crimes that take place in long-term care homes.

If it’s not an emergency, but you think a crime is being committed, you can call your local police station. You can also report a crime without giving your name through Crime Stoppers. Call them at 1-800-222-8477. Or, you can make a report using their website.

Who must report elder abuse

What you have to do depends on whether you’re visiting, working, or living in a long-term care home.

Visitors

The law says that people who visit long-term care homes must report any abuse or harm being done to a resident. This includes seeing abuse or reasonably suspecting that abuse is happening.

Report to the government’s Long-term Home Care ACTION Line. You can call 1-866-434-0144, between 8:30 a.m. and 7 p.m., 7 days a week. You don’t have to give your name.

Workers

If you work at a long-term care home, it does not matter what your job is. You must report and neglect that’s happening or that you suspect is happening.

This duty applies even if the report is based on information that you would normally keep confidential, such as about a resident’s health. For example, you still have to report abuse if you’re a member of a regulated health profession or a member of the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers.

If the law says that you must report abuse and you don’t do this, you may be guilty of an offense and be fined. This applies to everyone who works at a long-term care home, and anyone who provides health, social work, or social services to a resident. It does not apply to contract staff or agency staff who occasionally provide maintenance or repair services.

Residents

The only people who do not have to report abuse and neglect are the residents of a long-term care home. Residents can report abuse. But the law does not say that they have to.

There are more important details about how to report abuse in Step 3.

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