TORONTO, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Fiscal challenges cannot trump continued investments to ensure residents in Ontario's long term care homes receive high quality care in safe environments.
That was the message the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) delivered today during pre-budget consultations conducted by the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs.
"At a minimum, we need a 2% increase in funding in this Budget just to ensure current care levels continue," said Donna Rubin, CEO of OANHSS. "We support the government's direction to enhance community-based care to allow people to stay in their own homes as long as possible, but that means when individuals come into long term care, they tend to have heavier and more complex care needs."
OANHSS has long signaled that homes are already having serious difficulty meeting the most basic care needs of existing residents while at the same time trying to effectively deal with very complex situations such as mental health issues and challenging behaviours.
"While we recognize other system changes are needed, there is a clear, consistent and continuing call from all sides that we need to improve staffing levels in homes," added Rubin. "Quite simply, we not only need more hands on deck, but we also need to ensure that our staff have the specialized skills needed to properly care for our changing resident population."
OANHSS acknowledges that there are some initiatives underway such as specialized staffing to support homes in caring for residents with challenging behaviours through the Behaviourial Supports Ontario program. Programs such as these are a help but are limited in scope. As well, OANHSS is part of a multi-stakeholder task force that is working on actions that all sector players can take to help improve the care and safety of residents.
Other recommendations in OANHSS' pre-budget submission include changes to the funding system to maximize the use of care funding and capital investments to sustain and improve resident home environments.
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 8,000 seniors' housing units across the province.
A copy of OANHSS' submission is available at www.oanhss.org.
SOURCE: Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS)
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