The provincial government is working to do more to help seniors who want to live independently, in their own homes.
Health Minister Eric Hoskins announced his three-year, 10-step plan to improve and expand home and community care across the province.
“As our population ages, home and community care is becoming more and more important,” Hoskins explained.
Currently the province provides 6.5 million nursing visits every year. Under the new proposal, the five-per-cent funding increase for nursing care, which was supposed to end in 2016, will now be extended another three years. This funding will amount to 80,000 hours of nursing care at a cost of $750-million.
One of the big changes in Hoskins’ 10-point Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care plan is offering self-directed care. This would give seniors the option to control when and how much service they receive from home health care workers.
“I’m very excited about self-directed care,” said Hoskins. “I love it because it gives more control to the individual and their care givers.”
As an example, Hoskins said that should a senior have a family member or someone else able to give them care and stay with them for several days or weeks, the senior could cut back on the home health care and services they receive until that person leaves.
He said this will go a long way to ensure the independence of seniors while still offering the best possible care.
A pilot project of the service will begin this year before it can be rolled out to the rest of the province.
Other sections of the plan include moving forward with bundled care, expanding caregiver support through education and training, enhancing support for personal support workers and providing greater choice for palliative and end-of-life care.
More than 600,000 Ontario patients receive home care services each year, 60 per cent of whom are seniors. Nearly 1.5 million people in the province receive community services including meals, transportation and caregiver support.
With files from The Canadian Press