Ontario Budget Will Improve Care for Seniors in Long-Term Care with Dementia
Toronto - The Ontario Long Term Care Association called the Government of Ontario's 2016 Budget a positive step for seniors living in long-term care with dementia, and committed to working with government to work on the development of a plan to rebuild outdated long-term care homes, and to hire more staff to meet the growing needs of seniors living in long-term care.
"We have been calling for investments to provide the best care and treatment to the almost 65,000 seniors living in long-term care with Alzheimer's and dementia," said Candace Chartier, CEO of the Ontario Long Term Care Association. "We're pleased that the funding announced today will allow more homes to put in place the specialized dementia supports those seniors need to better manage their care."
The Association pointed to new data which shows that seniors who come to long-term care today are at a much more advanced stage of physical and cognitive decline than ever before. The vast majority (97%) of residents have two or more chronic health conditions; 62% of residents live with Alzheimer's or another form of dementia; and 46% display some level of aggressive behavior related to their dementia. In addition, nearly half of the province's long-term care homes were built to design standards dating back to 1973 making the challenge of caring for the increasing needs of seniors even more difficult.
In addition to the call for more dementia supports, the Association put forward several recommendations in the province's pre-budget consultations that if implemented would help manage the increasing needs of seniors in long-term care better:
• To eliminate the three and four-bed rooms and other outdated designs, a renewed plan must be implemented to modernize and rebuild the older long-term care homes that more than 30,000 seniors live in today.
• To keep seniors in their home community and out of hospital, a strategy must be implemented that recognizes the unique needs of homes in small and rural communities.
• To help manage the growing needs of seniors in today's long-term care homes, staffing models need to be changed and expanded.
"The reality is that the seniors coming to long-term care today have very different needs than they did 10 years ago. The new dementia supports and the small increase in level of care funding that was announced today will help, but there is still more work to do." said Chartier. "We're hopeful that in the coming weeks we can continue our ongoing discussions with government to put a plan in place to rebuild older homes and hire more staff."
About the Ontario Long Term Care Association
The Ontario Long Term Care Association is the largest association of long-term care providers in Ontario and the only association that represents the full mix of long-term care operators private, not-for-profit, charitable, and municipal. Our members provide care and accommodation services to over 70,000 residents annually in nearly 440 long-term care homes in communities throughout Ontario.