Budget 2015 a good step for Ontario's seniors in long-term care homes

OLTCA renews calls for additional funding to ensure the necessary supports for seniors with Alzheimer's and Dementia

TORONTO, April 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The Ontario Long Term Care Association called the Government of Ontario's 2% increase in level of care funding a good step towards improving the care being provided to seniors in long-term care homes. The Association added that additional investments are still needed for homes to provide the appropriate care for seniors living with Alzheimer's and dementia now, and in the years to come.

"The physical and cognitive needs of seniors who require care in long-term care homes will continue to grow in the coming years," said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association.  "Today's budget will help, but more is still required to ensure our homes are able to meet the growing support and care needs of their residents, especially when it comes to supporting the mental health needs of our seniors. In the coming weeks we'll be looking to meet with government officials to make care, comfort, and safety a priority."

The Association pointed to independent data which clearly demonstrates the increasing needs of seniors in long-term care homes. Seniors who come to long-term care are at a much more advanced stage of physical and cognitive decline than they were in the past.  The vast majority (93%) of residents have two or more chronic health conditions; 62% of residents live with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia; and 46% display some level of aggressive behavior related to their dementia or mental health.

To help manage the increasing needs of residents, the Association put forward several value-driven recommendations to strengthen the quality of care and homes provided to approximately 70,000 seniors every year. Specifically, the Association called for the implementation of a mental health support team in every long-term care home in the province, as well as modest funding increases to cover rising operational and staffing costs, and to improve resident care, comfort and safety.

A 2014 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.

"We recognize the fiscal pressures facing government today 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. "We look forward to continuing to work with government to find solutions to the growing care needs of our residents and to ensuring that homes will be able to meet the needs of Ontario's aging population in the future."

About the Ontario Long Term Care Association
The Ontario Long Term Care Association is the largest association of long-term care providers in Ontario and the only association that represents the full mix of long-term care operators – private, not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal. Our members provide care and accommodation services to over 70,000 residents annually in 440 long-term care homes in communities throughout Ontario.

SOURCE Ontario Long Term Care Association

For further information: Judy Irwin, Senior Manager, Communications, 647-967-8995, jirwin@oltca.com


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