South West LHIN announces first phase of plan to help seniors live healthy lives at home



    $7 million in funding for 2008/09 will support post-hospital care, stroke
    rehabilitation, supportive housing and other projects across the South
    West

    LONDON, ON, Feb. 29 /CNW/ - The South West Local Health Integration
Network (LHIN) Board of Directors has approved $7 million in new funding
allocations as part of a provincial strategy to help support seniors living
healthy lives at home.
    "Our communities have been waiting to hear how the Aging at Home
provincial dollars announced last August will help improve the health status
and quality of life of their family, friends, and clients," says Norm Gamble,
chair of the South West LHIN Board of Directors. "Our first year funding
decisions will help hundreds of seniors in our area this coming year, and will
lay the groundwork for further initiatives to be implemented over the
remaining two years of our strategy."
    Services to be funded in the coming year will focus on promoting wellness
and healthy living among seniors, supporting and caring for caregivers, and
supporting seniors at risk of going to long-term care homes and hospitals.
    Examples of programs and services funded through Aging at Home include:
    
    -  $1.65 million for supportive housing initiatives that allow seniors to
       live in seniors' communities, in their own residence, with access to
       24-hour personal care supports seven days a week.

    -  $793,000 for Home at Last projects that care for seniors following a
       hospital stay by providing transportation, personal care, and other
       supports as necessary, such as grocery and prescription pick-up, meal
       preparation, etc.

    -  $700,000 for a community stroke rehabilitation program for seniors
       recovering from stroke that includes the provision of therapy at home.
    

    In total, 25 projects were approved for the first year roll-out of the
Aging at Home strategy in the South West LHIN. Other projects seek to enhance
transportation and home-help options for seniors, adult day programs, home
care, health and wellness programs, and services to Francophone and immigrant
communities.
    "Our seniors want health care options that allow them to live healthy,
independent lives in their own homes as they age," says Tony Woolgar, chief
executive officer of the South West LHIN. "The LHIN is seeking a more
integrated health care delivery system built around extending the range of
services available to individuals in the home. That means embracing new and
innovative approaches that reach out to seniors in their own communities, and
that consider the whole person, the family, and carers, and all the factors
that have an impact on health status."
    Kelly Gillis, senior director of Planning, Integration and Community
Engagement at the South West LHIN, says the Aging at Home process is
reflective of a new approach to health care decision-making by giving health
service providers a formal role in the process.
    "These decisions were not made by the South West LHIN working alone, but
with input and direction from groups of health service providers and community
partners working together. Community support services, the South West CCAC,
local hospitals and other community partners not only worked together to
develop proposals for how the Aging at Home funds should be allocated, but
also to evaluate them and rank them in order of priority for their
communities," says Gillis.
    While the South West LHIN's first year plan is focused on stabilizing and
enhancing community-based services, at least twenty percent of the LHIN's
total Aging at Home funds are earmarked for innovative projects that represent
a new or different service concept or a variation of an existing one.
    The Aging at Home funds are an investment in the future of our seniors
and in the future of health care," says Chris Bentley MPP London West. "With
Ontario's over-65 population expected to double in the next 16 years, this
investment ensures a more sustainable health care system by providing supports
to seniors where they most want them - in their own homes."

    The South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) is a crown agency
responsible for planning, integrating and funding more than 150 health service
providers, including hospitals, long-term care homes, mental health and
addictions agencies, community support services, community health centres, and
the South West CCAC. Established under the Local Health System Integration
Act, 2006, as one of 14 LHINs across Ontario, the South West LHIN operates an
annual health care budget of $1.8 billion. The South West LHIN covers an area
from Lake Erie to the Bruce Peninsula and is home to almost one million
people.

    Background

    
    -  The Aging at Home strategy is a three-year, $700-million initiative
       announced by the Ontario government in August 2007 to help seniors
       live healthy, independent lives in their own homes.

    -  The South West LHIN was allotted $55,163,982 for the three-year
       funding period ending 2010-11, with $7 million, $17.4 million, and
       $30.7 million to be allocated respectively over the course of the
       three years. At the end of the three-year strategy, $30.7 million for
       Aging at Home will be added to the LHIN's ongoing base funding.

    -  Improving the continuum of care for seniors and adults with complex
       needs is a key strategic priority for the South West LHIN and is
       identified in the LHIN's Integrated Health Service Plan. In developing
       its Aging at Home strategy, the South West LHIN was able to draw on
       the work of its three seniors and long-term care Priority Action
       Teams, as well as the work of its advisory groups and other Priority
       Actions Teams. In all, hundreds of health service providers, health
       care professionals, community partners, and members of the community
       contributed to the decision-making process for the Aging at Home
       funds.

    -  The first year funding decisions will be implemented early in the
       2008/09 fiscal year following a due diligence review by the Ministry
       of Health and Long-Term Care.

    -  For more information on Aging at Home, visit the South West LHIN
       website at www.southwestlhin.on.ca.
    






For further information:

For further information: Tommasina Conte, (519) 672-0445, ext. 2566,
1-866-294-5446, tommasina.conte@lhins.on.ca; Annabelle Mackey, (519) 672-0445,
ext. 2573, 1-866-294-5446, annabelle.mackey@lhins.on.ca

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South West Local Health Integration Network

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