TORONTO, March 4, 2014 /CNW/ - On Monday, March 3, Ontario's Ministry of
Health and Long-Term Care announced plans to fund an additional 75
nurse practitioners in long-term care homes, rolled out over the next
"This is excellent news," says Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long
Term Care Association (OLTCA), which represents 439 long-term care
facilities in the province. "With the ongoing shift in Ontario to care
for people at home as long as possible, seniors who are now coming into
long-term care are more frail and clinically complex, requiring more
advanced care than even a few years ago."
The vast majority (93%) of long-term care residents have two or more
chronic diseases such as diabetes and arthritis. Many have Alzheimer's,
other dementias, and mental health challenges, with nearly half (46%)
displaying some form of aggressive behaviour.
"Health care in long-term care is much more medically complex and
challenging than it used to be," Chartier says. As some facilities have
difficulty getting access to medical directors for their homes or to
family doctors in the community, adding more nurse practitioners to
help provide on-site monitoring and care for residents' physical and
mental health is expected to reduce the large number who are taken to
"Many of our residents are currently in and out of hospital emergency
departments and hospitalizations due to various reasons," Chartier
says. "It's costly for the system and very stressful for our residents,
particularly those with cognitive and mental health challenges."
Chartier, who worked for many years as a registered nurse in long-term
care, says the 75 additional nurse practitioners will provide "a new
level of expertise to support the teams that are already in each home
providing safe, good-quality care."
Expanding advanced nursing capacity in long-term care homes and reducing
the number of transfers to hospital were two of the recommendations in
OLTCA's seminal 2012 report, Why Not Now? A Bold, Five-Year Strategy for Innovating Ontario's System
of Care for Older Adults.
How long-term care is changing:
The latest data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information
shows that Ontario's long-term care residents have prevalence rates of
endocrine, metabolic, pulmonary, and heart/circulatory diseases similar
to patients in complex continuing care hospitals—and much higher than
long-term care residents in other provinces. End-stage disease is
increasing at more than 10% per year.
Currently, 61% of residents live with Alzheimer's or other dementias.
More than one-third (38%) have a psychiatric or mood disorder. Dual
diagnosis, such as both dementia and a psychiatric diagnosis, is
increasing at 11% per year. And nearly half of all residents (46%)
have some level of aggressive behaviour such as hitting or
disproportionate anger, often triggered by perceived insults or
Residents have highly complex needs that require specialized and
intensive care, and significantly more support with activities of daily
living. As one example, research shows that in the four-year period
between 2008/2009 and 2012/2103, the proportion of residents who needed
higher levels of support with toileting increased by 22%. Other
increases included bathing (16%), personal hygiene (23%), and dressing
"The Ministry's announcement shows that the government understands
long-term care is changing rapidly, and needs more investment," says
OLTCA is Canada's largest long-term care association and represents 439
homes in a full spectrum of charitable, not-for-profit, private, and
municipal long term care operators. OLTCA members provide health care
and a home to almost 70,000 seniors annually.
SOURCE: Ontario Long Term Care Association
For further information:
Senior Manager, Communications
Ontario Long Term Care Association
Cell: 647 967 8995