I’m Kate Dewhirst.

I’m a lawyer who writes about legal issues affecting healthcare in Canada

Kate Dewhirst Health Law - bringing the law to life. Meet Kate (in 13 seconds)

What bothers patients? Why do they complain? What we can learn from the Patient Ombudsman’s First Annual Report in Ontario

Posted by

The Patient Ombudsman just released her first report: Patient Ombudsman Annual_Report_Final_EN

A year of patient and caregiver conversations and complaints by the numbers:

Almost 2000 complaints

  • 1431 complaints received by phone
  • 553 written complaints

Complaints were made by:

  • 37% patients
  • 29% substitute decision-makers
  • 23% caregivers
  • 6% family members
  • 5% other

Some complaints were rerouted to other regulatory authorities such as:

  • 364 complaints sent to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario
  • 108 complaints sent to the Ontario Ombudsman
  • 88 complaints sent to the College of Nurses of Ontario
  • 59 complaints sent to the Health Services Appeal and Review Board
  • 49 complaints sent to the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario

Types of health care organizations and their top complaints:

  • 70% hospitals – people were worried about inappropriate discharge, lack of communication and policies and procedures
  • 19% home and community care – people were worried about delay in service, inadequate service and policies and procedures
  • 11% long-term care homes – people were worried about poor care, policies and procedures, and lack of communication

Overall the top 5 healthcare issues Ontario’s patients and caregivers seem most concerned about:

  • 11% Inappropriate discharge
  • 10% Miscommunication or lack of communication
  • 10% Understanding and improving policies and procedures
  • 9.5% Access to service
  • 9% Poor care

Resolutions included:

  • Sharing the patient or caregiver perspective with a health service provider
  • Getting the right information to make a decision
  • Connecting to the right person who can help
  • Raising awareness of the issue
  • Getting a policy or a procedure changed for the better
  • Helping to prevent someone else from going through a similar experience
  • Getting an apology or formal acknowledgment of the concern

A few themes:

  • Patients want to be treated with greater compassion and dignity and seen as a whole person
  • Patients feel they have not been given enough information and time to make fully informed decisions
  • Patients and caregivers are fearful of speaking up about care in case of reprisal
  • Patients and caregivers are eager to participate in their own care plans

If you enjoyed this article please share it:


Previous and next posts from Kate:

Some of Kate’s recent and upcoming events

Free healthcare privacy webinar - ask me anything!
the first Wednesday of every month

Free webinars - advance registration needed

Whether you're an experienced privacy officer or new in the field, pick Kate’s brain for free for an hour, in this live webinar. No charge, but you’ll need to register in advance.

Health Privacy Officer Foundations training
September 14, 21, 28, October 5, 12, 19, 26 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations.

This course focuses on how to become a more confident privacy officer and gives you the tools to document your privacy program. Full details and registration here...

Join the Shush: a collective of health privacy officers
Annual membership 2021

For Privacy Officers within healthcare organizations

This is an annual membership program that takes theory into practice and tackles real life scenarios to build Privacy Officer skills.
Full details and registration here.

Primary care webinars: Employment Law Update & Legal Issues for EDs and Board members

Part of Kate’s monthly webinar series.

Our September program will address toxic employees and in October we discuss collaboration agreements.
Full details of the 2021 webinar series and registration here.

Team Privacy Training Events
September 22, 23, 24, 27, 30 October 13, 14, 20, 21

For Primary Care clinics, Hospitals, Community Agencies, Mental Health Teams, Public Health Units, School Boards, Police departments

Kate trains health professionals from many more health care organizations how being privacy-respectful can improve therapeutic relationships. More details...

Part X CYFSA Privacy Designate Course - video course online

For Privacy Designates in the child welfare sector including children's aid societies and indigenous children's well-being centres

We focus on how to implement Part X of the Child Youth and Family Services Act in your organization.
Full details and registration here.

Free summary of all PHIPA IPC decisions

Want to read privacy breach stories to learn how to improve your work? We have summarized all the Information and Privacy Commissioner's health privacy decisions for you Download here...

NEW! Ontario Hospital Association Professional Staff Credentialing Toolkit

2nd Edition is now available for managing physicians, dentists, midwives and nurse practitioners in hospitals Read here...

Kate Dewhirst Health Law

Kate says:

My mission is bringing the law to life. I make legal theory understandable, accessible and fun! I’m available and love to work for all organizations in the healthcare sector across Ontario and beyond.

Subscribe to my mailing list and keep up to date with news:

Latest Tweets

Join The Shush, my community for Privacy Officers in the healthcare sector. Develop knowledge, skills and judgment,… https://t.co/xGIfjnRDiI

about 22 hours ago

“Refresher Credentialing Training” for hospital Credentials Committees, MACs and Boards --- Based on the new Prof… https://t.co/d9RdfwdxJn

08:00 AM Oct 18th


contact details

P.O. Box 97010 Roncesvalles
Toronto Ontario M6R 3B3

(416) 855 9557

.