McGuinty Government Unveils New Vans, Innovative Programs to Improve
Access to Health Care in the Community so Seniors Can Stay at Home Longer
TORONTO, June 18 /CNW/ -
Standing in front of seven new Dodge Caravans that will provide area
seniors with rides to appointments, George Smitherman, Deputy Premier and
Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, today announced a series of local
Aging at Home initiatives which are receiving close to $6.4 million this year.
More than 250 new programs - funded with $76 million this year - and a
total of 100 vans providing 135,000 rides to appointments across Ontario are
part of the province's landmark Aging at Home Strategy, a $1.1 billion
initiative to help seniors live healthy, independent lives in the comfort and
dignity of their own homes. Minister Smitherman traveled to the Mississauga
Halton LHIN today to highlight these local initiatives.
Aging at Home is part of the Ontario government's broader strategy to
reduce wait times in emergency rooms. Offering better community supports to
our seniors allows them to stay in their homes longer and reduces the
pressures on Ontario's ERs.
The Mississauga Halton LHIN will be implementing 15 programs this year
with close to $6.4 million in provincial funding, with more programs to come
in the near future. The initiatives range from the expansion of existing
services to the introduction of innovative services, and are designed to
provide senior-centred accessible care in the community. Some offer culturally
appropriate initiatives to meet the needs of diverse clientele. These
initiatives emphasize a mix of community-based services in the following
- Caregiver support and education
- Supportive housing
- Transportation and meals
- Physical activity
- Wellness and preventive care
- Reducing isolation
For example, a Supports for Daily Living program will provide a unique
concept of offering service from a "hub", providing local neighbourhoods of
clustered buildings with coverage 24 hours per day, seven days per week. This
model will allow providers the opportunity to adjust care to clients as
clients' needs increase over time. This initiative will increase the housing
options for seniors, significantly averting admission of stable, healthy
seniors to LTC homes and provide cost efficiencies, economies of scale and
resource flexibility to the providers.
Another innovative program is the expansion and development of geriatric
mental health outreach services across the Mississauga Halton LHIN and the
creation of targeted partnerships to strengthen the health and social service
continuum responsible for supporting seniors/families affected by serious
mental illness and/or behavioural difficulties (e.g. responsive behaviour)
residing in community or LTC homes settings.
This will decrease potentially unnecessary admissions to LTC homes due to
challenging behaviour, decrease visits to the emergency department and
hospitalizations from LTC homes and increase the capacity of other health
providers to better manage needs of complex elderly in the community.
"We have worked diligently with our community partners to develop
innovative health care services for seniors," said John Magill, Mississauga
Halton LHIN Board Chair. "A lack of adequate transportation services presents
a serious challenge to the delivery of health care for many people. The new
van fleet will provide reliable and vital transportation for Ontario seniors
and allow our residents to receive the health care they need where and when
they want it."
"With these new vans, our seniors will have easier access to the health
and social services they need," said Amrit Mangat, MPP Mississauga-Brampton
South. "By delivering on stronger community programs for seniors, we will not
only help them to age with dignity and independence at home, but also ease
pressures on our hospitals, especially in emergency rooms."
"We received the second highest Aging at Home funding allocation in the
province, acknowledging the pressures our health system will face as our
community grows and ages. It is imperative that we assist seniors to age in
place and provide them with the supports to manage at home, and thanks to the
leadership of the Mississauga Halton LHIN, I think we're well positioned to
meet this need", said Dr. Barbara Clive, Medical Director Regional Geriatric
Services, Credit Valley Hospital.
"We are shifting the way we're delivering health to seniors by bringing
care to their communities so people can stay at home longer, surrounded by
loved ones and where they are most comfortable," said George Smitherman,
Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. "Providing rides to
appointments and the innovative programs announced today, as well as increased
home care and other supports, provides greater access to care for tens of
thousands of seniors and at the same time builds stronger communities
- Mississauga Halton is home to approximately 119,365 adults over the
age of 65 and is one of the fastest growing LHIN regions in the
province for this age group.
- The new van fleet will provide 135,000 rides for seniors across
Ontario to and from medical appointments this year.
- Ontario's Aging at Home Strategy is a four-year $1.1 Billion
initiative launched in 2007.
Read more about Ontario's Aging at Home Strategy
For further information:
For further information: Media Contacts: Bill MacLeod, CEO, Mississauga
Halton LHIN, (905) 337-7131, ext. 207; Diane Koz, Acting Director, Health
System Development, Mississauga Halton LHIN, (905) 337-7131, ext. 229; Priti
Patel, Aging at Home Lead, and Senior Lead Health System Development,
Mississauga Halton LHIN, (905) 337-7131, ext. 222