Regulations in continuing care may articulate:

  • Who is permitted to operate a care home, and what licensing and operating requirements must be met.

  • Who is responsibility for compliance monitoring and auditing, and to which standards.

  • Which current standards and policies the operator is obliged to meet, and the parameters and requirements of reportable incidents.

  • Minimum levels of staffing, staff qualifications, hours of care, and other quality assurance provisions.

  • Who is eligible to receive services in a publicly funded care home.

  • What services must (mandatory) and may (optional) be provided by the operator.

  • Who pays for what (public funding versus operator versus resident) and how much can be charged.

  • How the needs and preferences of residents (individually and collectively) will be factored into care home operations.

  • How to handle complaints, disputes, and appeals.

  • Ministerial authority to direct or intervene when necessary.

Why staying current on changes is important

Outdated regulations can create confusion and ambiguity — and can even render an operator non-compliant even when they’re following best practice.

For example, the Nursing Homes Operation Regulation is very specific in prescribing the permissible professional staff within a care home. A key position noted in the regulation is a Certified General Nurse (a position that is essentially non-existent today). The regulation pre-dates new provider groups such as nurse practitioners and licensed practical nurses, so these essential professionals aren’t even mentioned. And there is no reference to health care aides – a newer category of staff that provides up to 80% of the direct care delivery in today’s care homes.

When regulations aren’t kept current, operators are accountable to work with a care team composition that no longer exists today. Of course operators simply rely on newer standards and policies to guide their operational decisions, but current and relevant regulations go a long way to ensure there is no confusion about the standards operators are expected to meet.

Related content

Learn how CHAA is advocating for continuing care regulatory change in Alberta.