Lack of Investments in Provincial Budget to Keep LTC Residents Safe Is Disappointing: OANHSS

TORONTO, May 1, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite consistent and collective calls by seniors, families and providers, today's Provincial Budget appears to ignore the urgent need to improve care and safety for Ontario's long term care residents.

"We really expected to see targeted investments to support long term care homes in caring for residents with aggressive behaviours and mental health issues," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS). "Keeping people safe is by far the greatest challenge homes are facing in caring for their residents. We hoped to see acknowledgment of this critical issue in the Budget."

The Association's analysis of clinical data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) revealed that 35 percent of the 77,000 residents in long term care homes have moderate aggressive behaviours and that this population is increasing at a rate of about four percent or 1,200 residents per year. OANHSS also found that about 11 percent of residents are considered severely aggressive. As such, in a standard resident home area of 34 beds, three to four residents will have severe levels of aggressive behaviours.

"While we understand that there will be an adjustment to funding, the increase needs to be significant enough to actually raise the level of care and not simply maintain current levels," added Rubin. "Otherwise we will be no further ahead in our ability to meet the needs of aggressive residents and to keep everyone in our homes safe."

OANHSS was pleased to see two proposed measures in the Budget that, if implemented, will provide needed support to homes; specifically, funding to accelerate redevelopment of older homes and an amendment to the Assessment Act to exempt all charitable and non-profit homes from property taxation. 

"Consistent and equitable property tax treatment in our sector is something we have been seeking for many years. We appreciate the government's commitment to move forward with a solution," said Rubin. 

In this Budget the government also continued its commitment to enhancing community-based care with $15 million per year in new funding to help meet the five-day home care service target and a recommitment to increasing home and community care services by an average of five percent per year. 

"We have many member organizations across the province that deliver important and valued community services such as meals on wheels, day programs and supportive housing. We applaud these investments to support seniors to stay in their homes for as long as possible," said Rubin. "We need to remember, however, that this means people are coming into our long term care homes at a later stage and with increasing complex health needs and behaviours. We need more resources to properly care for these residents."

OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 8,000 seniors' housing units across the province. 

SOURCE: Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)

For further information:

Debbie Humphreys
Senior Director, Corporate and Public Affairs
(W) 905-851-8821 ext. 233
(C) 416-553-7401

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Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)

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