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HomeHealth and LifestyleGovernment Says It Will Provide Up To $270 Million This Year To...

Government Says It Will Provide Up To $270 Million This Year To Improve Staffing Levels In Long Term Care

KAWARTHA LAKES-The Ontario government says it will provide up to $270 million this year to long-term care homes to increase staffing levels by 4,050 new long-term care staff across the province, leading to more direct care for residents.

“We know that more qualified staff means more daily care for residents,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long-Term Care. “Hiring more staff is part of our government’s plan to fix long-term care and to improve the quality of care residents receive and the quality of life they experience.”

AdvantAge Ontario an advocacy group for seniors was pleased with the announcement.

“Today’s announcement is tremendous news and a watershed moment for long-term care in Ontario. This is a massive investment that we are pleased to see going to every long-term care home in the province. It is putting dollars exactly where they need to be – increasing frontline staff to improve care for residents. We commend the government for taking bold and concrete action on such a critical issue that will have a direct and positive impact on the quality and enjoyment of life for seniors living in our homes.” stated Lisa Levin, CEO. 

The Minister also announced that as part of the government’s plan to fix long-term care, it intends to bring forward legislation that will enshrine its commitment to four hours of care into law.

“Moving to a provincial average of four hours of care has been a long-standing advocacy priority for our Association ever since the target was identified in the government-commissioned Sharkey Report on long-term care in 2008,” stated Levin. “More staff means more care, and that is what truly matters. The dedicated and tremendously hardworking people caring for residents in our homes have told us over and over that what they want most is to have more time to spend with each resident, and this funding will help make that happen.”

Currently, residents receive an average of two hours and 45 minutes of direct care from nurses and personal support workers. Direct care is hands-on care that includes personal care, such as feeding, bathing and dressing, as well as other important tasks such as helping residents move, medical/therapeutic treatments, and providing medication according to the province. Officials say this funding will increase the daily average to 3 hours per resident per day, by the end of this fiscal year. This funding also includes $42.8 million to homes to increase care by allied health care professionals that are key to ensuring quality care for residents (such as physiotherapists and social workers), by 10 per cent this year.

“Ontario’s world-class health care system is built on the exceptional quality of care that our health care professionals provide to our loved ones, which is why our government is supporting increased enrolment in nursing and personal support worker programs,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities. “By working with our post-secondary education partners, we are training and educating more talent to support the long-term care sector in communities across the province.”

The government says it will invest $4.9 billion over four years to increase direct resident care to an average of four hours daily by hiring more than 27,000 staff. Hiring thousands of new staff at long-term care homes and increasing the amount of care they deliver each year will be made possible by annual funding increases to homes:

  • $270 million in 2021-22
  • $673 million in 2022-23
  • $1.25 billion in 2023-24
  • $1.82 billion in 2024-25

In the coming days, homes will also be receiving allocations for the additional funding up to 2024-25 to assist them in planning future staffing needs to meet the new care requirements according to the Ontario government.

The province also announced the launch of a $10 million annual fund to support ongoing professional development opportunities in long-term care, through the Supporting Professional Growth Fund. The fund will support training opportunities for long-term care staff to help them stay current on best practices in their field.

“This announcement holds great potential to improve care for Ontario’s seniors. We look forward to working closely with the government on the implementation details.” Levin says. 

 

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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