Patients First: Strengthening Home and Community Care
In May 2015, Ontario launched Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care, the government's three-year plan to improve and expand home and community care. Since that time, Ontario has made important progress, making it easier for patients and their caregivers to access better care at home and in the community.
In addition to the $100 million investment in care for clients and their caregivers this year, the province has made progress on the following:
Improvements for clients
- Effective October 1, 2015, Ontario increased the maximum number of nursing visits or hours that a home care client may receive. The province is also providing more support for clients in extraordinary circumstances and their caregivers by allowing Community Care Access Centres to provide nursing services above the maximum for clients:
- in the last stages of life
- awaiting placement into a long-term care home
- or for any other clients for up to 30 days in a 12-month period.
- Ontario appointed Gail Donner, PhD, as External Advisor on Home and Community Care. As part of her role, Dr. Donner is helping ensure that patient and caregiver voices are integrated into the design and implementation of the home and community care roadmap.
- Six teams in Ontario are delivering bundled care, and more than 375 patients across the province have been enrolled in the project. Bundled care helps people transition more smoothly out of the hospital and into their homes. Early results are positive, with new relationships forming between the hospital and home and community sectors. Patients are experiencing shorter hospital stays and a more integrated care experience once they get home.
- The province is improving palliative and end-of-life care, with an investment of $75 million over three years. This funding is supporting up to 20 new hospices across the province and increasing funding for existing facilities that provide hospice care. In March 2016, Ontario released the Palliative and End-of-Life Care Provincial Roundtable Report based on consultations held around the province to inform the plan for strengthening community-based hospice and palliative care.
- In June 2016, Ontario increased funding for existing hospices by $13.9 million over three years.
- Ontario is developing a 'Levels of Care Framework,' which will help ensure that home and community care services and assessments are consistent and transparent across the province. Ontario also intends to establish a Levels of Care Expert Panel that will provide recommendations on developing this framework.
- The government continues to consult widely with patients, caregivers and sector partners, as well as key leaders in research and quality improvement, including the University of Waterloo and Health Quality Ontario, to ensure their input is reflected in the framework.
- Ontario will soon be launching province wide consultations on a statement of values, which will identify the values most important to patients and caregivers in the delivery of home and community care.
- Ontario is developing a capacity planning framework to guide the planning of health care services in a way that is locally-driven and long-term to ensure the needs of our loved ones are met today and in the future. Part of this capacity planning includes the development of a Dementia Capacity Planning project, which will help ensure that services are in place for the future needs of Ontarians living with dementia.
Improvements for personal support workers
- To maintain a stable home and community care workforce, Ontario is enhancing wages for personal support workers, including an hourly wage increase for eligible personal support workers working in the home and community care sector and a higher minimum base wage of $16.50/hour as of April 1, 2016.
- The province is working with Community Care Access Centres, Local Health Integration Networks and service providers to implement a consistent Community Care Access Centre contract rate for personal support worker services for 2017-18.