Budget announcement means safer, more comfortable lives for Ontario's long term care residents

New investment to redevelop long term care homes will improve quality of life and quality of care

TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - The Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) applauds today's announcement that the government intends to enhance the long term care home renewal strategy to meet the increasingly complex needs of long term care residents.

Currently, approximately 44% of Ontario's long term care homes - many of them small or in rural locations - do not meet the most recent design standards (1998).  Many of these are also not currently equipped with fire sprinklers, and all would benefit from renovations and expansions to accommodate the more complex care needed by today's long term care residents.

"Long term care has changed dramatically in the last decade," said Candace Chartier, CEO of OLTCA. "The province's expansion of 'aging at home' supports for seniors, along with the increase in retirement home options, means that seniors who come to long term care are typically at a much more advanced stage of physical and cognitive decline than they were in the past."

The majority (93%) of residents have two or more chronic health conditions; 61% of residents live with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia; and 46% display some level of aggressive behavior. Research shows the population of seniors with complex physical and cognitive needs will continue to grow significantly in the coming years.

"Today's announcement means that the homes where residents live will not only be safer, but will provide the right space and support for the needs of residents today and tomorrow," said Chartier. "We look forward to working with the government on the implementation details of the program to ensure that it's viable, sustainable, and in the best interests of Ontario's seniors."

Chartier expressed disappointment that there was no funding for Behavioural Supports Ontario teams in every home, which are needed to help provide safe and sensitive care for seniors whose Alzheimer's or related dementia is causing aggression and other challenging behaviour.

A recent survey completed by Nanos Research found that more than 90% of Ontarians are concerned or very concerned about the availability of staffing support for seniors in long term care and about the physical condition of long-term care homes in Ontario. More than four in five (82%) believe the government needs to invest in long term care now to ensure seniors get the quality care they need.

In its submission to government for the 2014 budget, OLTCA put forward five recommendations to strengthen the quality of care provided to 70,000 seniors every year. One of these recommendations was a viable capital redevelopment program.

"We recognize the pressures facing government in today's fiscal environment and are committed to being part of the solution to provide the right care in the right place at the right time for Ontario's seniors," said Chartier. "Our members look forward to working with government to deliver the homes that our seniors deserve, and we will continue to call for the right resources for their care needs."

About OLTCA

The Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) is Canada's largest long term care association representing charitable, not-for-profit, private, and municipal long term care operators. The Association's 441 member homes are funded and regulated by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. OLTCA members provide care, accommodation and services to approximately 70,000 seniors annually.

SOURCE: Ontario Long Term Care Association

For further information:

Adrienne Spafford
Director, Strategy and Public Affairs
416.272.0120
aspafford@oltca.com
www.oltca.com


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