Increased Funding In Home And Long-Term Care Improves Quality Of Life For Seniors
Ontario is home to approximately 1.5 million seniors, which is close to 13 per cent of Ontario's population. By 2028, the number of senior citizens in Ontario is expected to double. The government is committed to ensuring that Ontario seniors live safely, with dignity, and as independently as possible, with the supports they need.
In its renewed commitment to seniors, the McGuinty government's Plan for Change will invest nearly $1 billion in additional funding to improve Ontario's home care program and long-term care facilities.
This Plan for Change will ensure that more Ontario seniors can get help to live on their own and long-term care facilities will provide the best care possible.
In its four-year plan, the McGuinty government will provide home care services to 95,700 more Ontarians, an increase of more than 20 per cent, and compassionate end-of-life services for an additional 6,000 people.
Dubbed by Roy Romanow as the "the next essential service," the government will invest $88 million this year in Ontario's home care program, rising to $448 million over the next four years.
Who Does Home Care Serve?
In 2002-03 more than 400,000 clients were served by the home care program -- 57 per cent were seniors, 27 per cent adults and 16 per cent children.
It is estimated that over 432,000 clients were served in 2003/04.
Clients who receive home care include:
- Patients discharged from the hospital requiring short-term acute care
- Children with multiple disabilities
- Individuals with MS or other physical disabilities
- Seniors who need support to continue to live in their homes
- Individuals with Alzheimer's disease or other dementia.
Types of Services
Types of services provided by Ontario's Community Care Access Centres include:
- Case management
- Nursing services
- Personal support and homemaking services
- Occupational therapy
- Speech-language pathology
- Social work
- Dietetic services.
Benefits of Home Care
Home care services allow clients to recover from short-term acute illness in their homes, live in their homes instead of institutions when they have chronic long-term health conditions, or support people who wish to die at home.
Home care services provide clients with the ability to receive services in their homes and provide the support to family members who may be the primary care providers.
The 2004 Budget -- Plan for Change -- provides an additional $406 million investment in long-term care homes in 2004-05, which will fund the opening of 3,760 new beds and will improve the safety and quality of care provided to residents. This additional funding will bring total spending on long-term care homes in 2004-05 to $2.5 billion.
The Budget also proposes to increase the quality of life for residents of long-term care homes through a three per cent increase in the comfort allowance for low-income residents of such homes who do not receive social assistance. The comfort allowance is a residual amount of income that low-income residents are allowed to keep after contributing toward the cost of their care, and is usually used to buy personal items, such as clothes and toiletries.
To ensure the safety of residents, the government is improving inspection of its long-term care homes and providing residents and their families with a toll-free phone service to access information or file complaints.
The McGuinty government recently unveiled a comprehensive strategy to protect seniors and transform long-term care in Ontario. This plan involves creating a culture of community in long-term care homes, toughening enforcement, making long-term care more accountable, and making a $531 million investment in new front-line staff, better care and additional long-term care beds.
About 10 per cent of hospitals beds are used by patients who no longer need hospital care. Yet over the years, despite a call for greater investment in home care, many people continued to be hospitalized when they didn't need to be or were forced to stay longer in hospitals because there was no support in the community.
The government is finally taking action:
- The government will invest $88 million in new funding for home care in 2004-05, which will go towards enhancing in-home services, including post-acute, chronic and end-of-life services.
- As part of this funding, the 2004 Provincial Budget allocated $10 million to be provided through a not-for-profit agency to help patients and their families acquire medical equipment for home use.
- The remaining funding is allocated for Community Care Access Centres.
- The government will establish a comprehensive provincial end-of-life strategy so Ontarians who wish to die at home may do so.