OHA Applauds Provincial Government's Investment in Community Health Care Services

    TORONTO, Aug. 28 /CNW/ - Today the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA)
welcomed the Government of Ontario's announcement of a three-year,        
$700 million "Aging at Home" strategy to transform community health care
services and better meet the needs of a growing and aging population.
    "Today's announcement means that patients, particularly elderly patients,
will have greater access to the services they need, when and where they need
them," said Hilary Short, President and CEO of the OHA. "This key strategy has
the potential, over time, to ease the current pressures on Ontario's acute
care hospitals."

    According to the details of the announcement, the Government of Ontario
will invest $702 million in the Aging at Home Strategy, which will include:

    -   $3,000,000 for First-Year Planning for Local Health Integration
        Networks (LHINs);
    -   $40,000,000 for an Assistive Devices Program Funding Increase
        (mobility aids);
    -   $66,000,000 for Provincial Priorities; and
    -   $593,000,000 allocated to LHINs

    The investment will help improve the way services are delivered and
provide more equitable access to health care by matching the needs of the
local senior population with the appropriate support services. These services
could include enhanced home care and community support services like meals,
transportation, shopping, snow shoveling, friendly home calling, adult day
programs, homemaking services and caregiver supports. Providing comprehensive
lifestyle assistance and community-based health care to those individuals who
need it could keep them healthier and living independently, and prevent early
or unnecessary admission to hospital.
    Over the past number of months, Ontario's hospitals have been facing the
growing challenge of being unable to discharge patients in need of alternate
levels of care (ALC) in a timely fashion, because of a lack of health care
services and supportive services available elsewhere, including in the
community. This has caused the current congestion in Ontario's hospitals,
particularly in emergency departments.
    In response to these issues, the OHA made ALC a key component of its
Pre-Budget Submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic
Affairs, and repeated its call for the creation of a comprehensive strategy to
ensure that elderly patients could receive the care they need outside of acute
care hospitals following the release of the 2007 Ontario Budget in March.

For further information:

For further information: OHA Public Affairs, (416) 205-1371

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