Investing wisely in homecare critical to delivering quality care and effectively managing the system says SEIU Healthcare in its Ontario pre-budget submission

RICHMOND HILL, ON, April 5, 2013 /CNW/ - SEIU Healthcare, Canada's largest healthcare union, has been invited to give a presentation this morning to Ontario's Minister of Finance, Charles Sousa, as part of Ontario's pre-budget consultations. In its briefing, SEIU Healthcare will be outlining a series of recommendations in community-based and long-term care designed to improve the efficiency and transparency of the health sector and improve both the quality and value of care patients receive.

Included in SEIU Healthcare's recommendations are measures designed to:

  • Provide full disclosure of where every homecare penny goes, in order to effectively allocate and manage precious resources to ensure homecare services are being delivered efficiently to meet rising demand;
  • Cut wait lists for homecare at a time when Ontarians face waits of up to 260 days for care;
  • Provide relief to families with supports like flexible respite care so caregivers get a break;
  • Establish a provincial Personal Support Worker (PSW) Strategy that strengthens the recruitment and retention of quality-trained PSWs in Ontario and provides fair compensation and incentives;
  • Guarantee the security and peace of mind for seniors and families that depend on homecare by ensuring that every health professional coming into their home is trained and qualified;
  • Fully utilize healthcare professions such as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs)and PSWs in the acute and community sectors to increase the efficiency and quality of Ontario's healthcare system; and
  • Provide each resident in long term care homes a minimum of 3.5 hours of care per day to help prevent abuse and neglect, ensure the safety of residents and care workers, and improve the quality of life of residents.

"SEIU Healthcare supports the Government of Ontario in its efforts to create jobs and improve services for people while eliminating the deficit," said Sharleen Stewart, President, SEIU Healthcare. "Our recommendations complement these priorities and will help ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of government services while wisely managing our investments in the Ontario healthcare sector. We look forward to seeing our recommendations in the upcoming budget."

To learn more about SEIU Healthcare and the issues we work on visit:  http://www.seiulocal1.org/

Backgrounder

SEIU Healthcare Pre-Budget briefing to the
Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs
2013 Ontario Budget, April 5, 2013

Today representatives of SEIU Healthcare briefed the Ontario Minister of Finance Charles Sousa leading up to the 2013 Ontario Budget and provided recommendations designed to increase the efficiency and transparency of the health sector and drive quality and value.

From a system wide perspective, SEIU Healthcare recommended fully utilizing the knowledge and skills of healthcare professionals such as Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Personal Support Workers (PSWs) in the acute and community sectors to increase both the efficiency and quality of Ontario's healthcare system. For example, using a RPN to his/her full scope of practice will result in a net savings to the system since an RPN hour costs 30% less than a Registered Nurse hour while providing the same quality of care. Similarly, using trained PSWs in tasks for which they possess the skills and knowledge to practice will result in net savings to the system since a PSW hour costs approximately 30% less than an RPN hour.  If implemented, it is estimated that this measure could result in a net savings of over a Billion dollars per year.

Long-Term Care (LTC) is playing an increasingly important role in the province's healthcare delivery system. The movement of more acute care patients out of hospitals and mental health facilities into LTC homes has created mounting care needs and demographic trends also mean that LTC residents will have progressively more complex and heavier care needs over the coming years. Given this situation, SEIU Healthcare is recommending that the province set standards for minimum hours of care in long term care homes - 3.5 hours of care per person per day to help prevent abuse and neglect, ensure the safety of residents and care workers, and improve the quality of life of residents.

As a critical component of Ontario's health system, homecare is vital to delivering improved healthcare performance while constraining expenditure growth in the costly acute and long-term care sectors. Recognizing the increasing role that homecare needs to play, SEIU Healthcare outlined a six point homecare action plan, as seen below, that would deliver the promise of homecare.

Homecare: Fulfilling the promise

Action Plan

   
1. Cut waiting lists for homecare
  With more than 10,000 people on waiting lists for homecare, and delays of up to 260 days, families
need a new homecare guarantee that care will be there when they need it.
   
2. Provide relief to family caregivers
  Take some of the pressure off families who are caring for an ailing relative while at the same time
trying to juggle a full-time job and raise a family with supports like flexible respite care so that
caregivers get a break.
   
3. Guarantee security and peace of mind
  When a family needs homecare they should be guaranteed every health professional coming into
their home is trained, qualified and has passed a criminal background check.
   
4. Insist investments go to the frontline not the bottom line
  Put a hard cap on the salaries of healthcare CEOs who have been pocketing millions and close tax
loopholes so the wealthiest 1% pay their fair share towards public healthcare.
   
5. Demand transparency and accountability
  Today out of every public dollar invested in homecare, only 35 cents goes to actual frontline care.
The public needs full disclosure of where every homecare penny goes, in order to be reassured
that homecare services are being delivered efficiently to meet the rising demand.
   
6. Protect the heart of healthcare
  Frontline staff are the heart of healthcare. To attract healthcare professionals required to care for
an aging population, we need a plan that offers personal support workers fair and reasonable
compensation and incentives like retirement benefits.
   

SEIU Healthcare supports the Government of Ontario in its efforts to create jobs and improve services for people while eliminating the deficit.  We believe these recommendations must be among the Ontario government's top priorities for program spending measures. By implementing our recommendations the government of Ontario will help ensure the sustainability and effectiveness of government services while wisely managing our investments in the Ontario healthcare sector.

SOURCE: SEIU Healthcare

For further information:

Kyle Ferguson, Media Relations
SEIU Healthcare
Cell: 416-809-0699
Email: k.ferguson@seiulocal1.org