Crisis for persons with physical disabilities


    TORONTO, Aug. 13 /CNW/ - Wait times in Ontario for Attendant Services
(services that make it possible for persons with physical mobility
disabilities to perform fundamental activities of daily living (ADL) like
mobility transfers, bathing and dressing) have reached unprecedented crisis
levels, a new report released today reveals.
    Due to unmet need, the wait lists for people with physical disabilities
range from 4 to 10 years. This crisis will only worsen, since the number of
people with disabilities is growing, and this population is aging, the report
"Unleashing Attendant Services" shows.
    "Without Attendant Services, people with physical disabilities are denied
the basic ability to go to school, get to a job or contribute to their
communities in other ways", said Susan Thorning, CEO of the Ontario Community
Support Association.

    Ontarians who need Attendant Services:

    -   Require services their entire lives
    -   Are living longer with medical technology
    -   Have changing needs as they age
    -   Acquire age-related diseases earlier than the general population, at
        about 50 years of age
    -   Have much higher incidents of chronic diseases like diabetes and

    "People on Attendant Services wait lists put pressure on the health care
system because they remain inappropriately stuck waiting in long-term care
homes, acute care beds, chronic care hospitals, and rehabilitation facilities
- all at much higher costs to taxpayers. For aging parents of adult children
with physical disabilities still at home, the stress on their health is
increasing and they are frankly not able to physically or mentally provide the
care anymore." stressed Sandra Carpenter, Executive Director, Centre for
Independent Living, (CILT), a consumer of Attendant Services, and a member of
OCSA's Attendant Services Advisory Committee that is recommending changes.

    The OCSA Attendant Services Advisory Committee is recommending that:

    1.  The Ministry of Health and Long Term Care and the Local Health
        Integration Networks (LHINs) begin to immediately address this
        growing crisis by hosting a special Attendant Services forum with
        consumers, providers and relevant provincial associations
    2.  Attendant Services wait times be added as a priority to the
        Provincial Wait Times Strategy and have the Ontario Health Quality
        Council report annually on progress
    3.  The Ministry institute individually-based funding for all persons
        requiring Attendant Services to ensure a secure level of ongoing
        services to maintain independence, and secure base stabilization
        funding for service providers to ensure the ongoing infrastructure
        and capacity to provide the services needed, and
    4.  There be an immediate infusion of additional funding for existing
        services and clients as there has been a loss of 23% in Attendant
        Services providers' spending power over the past 10 years with
        funding not keeping pace with inflation in an environment of surging
        demand for services.

       It's the right thing to do; it's right for Ontario's taxpayers

    (*) Please note: The full text of the report is available online at

                           PRESS CONFERENCE DETAILS

    What:  Press conference to release report "Unleashing Attendant Services"

    Where: Media Studio, Queen's Park Main Legislature Building

    When:  10 a.m. Wednesday August 13, 2008

    Who:   Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA), leaders of other
           community care organizations and service providers and a
           physically disabled Ontarian who receives in-home services.

    Visuals:  Reporters may also arrange off-site, in-home interviews with
              physically disabled persons, community leaders and the OCSA.


For further information:

SERVICES CLIENT, please contact: Lori Payne, Manager, Communications, OCSA, (416) 256-3010 Ext 242, website:

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