Make Long Term Care a Priority in Next Budget, OANHSS Urges



    TORONTO, Jan. 22 /CNW/ - Today the association representing
not-for-profit long term care homes urged the government to make resident care
a priority in the upcoming provincial budget.
    "Over the past year, many advocacy groups have been calling for the
reinstatement of a care standard of at least three hours per resident per day
and many called for 3.5 hours," said Donna Rubin, CEO of the Ontario
Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) in a
pre-budget presentation to the Finance Minister.
    "What we have done is calculated what government funding currently
provides and what it would take financially to move to an average of three
hours of care per resident per day," added Rubin.
    OANHSS has determined that current funding supports 2.48 hours of care
per resident per day. The Association is calling for an investment of
$586 million in fiscal year 2008-2009 to bring this to an average of three
hours per resident per day and to address other critical shortfalls in the
sector.
    "The simple fact is that we need more hands on deck to dress, feed,
toilet and care for our residents. The government would see immediate and
positive results from this much needed investment in direct care," stated
Rubin.
    This issue has been a top priority for OANHSS and its members over the
last decade. The Association has continually advocated for stable and adequate
resourcing to meet the increasingly complex care needs of residents.
    "Minister Smitherman has often stated that he has injected over
$700 million into long term care over the past four years. We do not dispute
this figure - our issue is that for the most part, these funds have not gone
to the area of greatest need," Rubin added.
    OANHSS' analysis shows that the majority of new long term care funding
has gone to maintaining previous policy commitments, system improvements and
new projects.
    "All worthy initiatives, but they do not enhance direct care," said
Rubin.
    One area where government investment has made a real difference in the
lives of residents was the 26 per cent increase in the daily food allowance
this past fall. OANHSS whole-heartedly applauded this move.
    "The jump in the food allowance from $5.57 to $7.00 a day for each
resident had significant impact. That's the type of investment we need in
frontline staff to really improve care levels for our residents," said Rubin.

    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 5,000 seniors' housing units
across the province.
    For a copy of OANHSS' long term care homes funding analysis and
presentation remarks go to www.oanhss.org.





For further information:

For further information: Debbie Humphreys, (905) 851-8821 ext 233

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

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