(Op-Ed by Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association)
Over the last five years, the long-term care sector in Ontario has undergone profound change.
Seniors would come to our long-term care homes with mixed care needs. Some required minimal care support, and some had very high care needs. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care changed this practice in 2010. Now, only people with high or very high care needs are eligible for long-term care in Ontario, when living at home is no longer an option.
Put simply, our seniors are entering long-term care homes when they are older, more frail, and in need of more medical and personal care than ever before.
Part of this is due to the province’s aging-in-place policy direction, which has made more funding available for care at home and ushered in stricter admission criteria for long-term care. The more complex health needs of new residents in long-term care are changing the role of our homes, which are fulfilling a very different role than they did in years past.
As a result, our long-term care homes have reached a critical time. Provincial funding has not kept pace with the changing demographic of the seniors staying in long-term care homes. This is despite the fact that the care provided in long-term care homes is not only more appropriate for seniors than in other health care facilities like hospitals, but it also costs significantly less. Recent data from the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care shows that it costs up to 80% less per day, to care for a senior in a long-term care home than it does in hospitals or other complex continuing care facilities.
Read the rest at the Brantford Expositor.