FOCUS ON SENIORS: The need for increased care

News Feb 12, 2015 by Sean Allen Brant News

As Ontario’s Liberal government is crafting a 2015 budget in the face of a $12.5-billion deficit, one group is urging the province to spend hundreds of millions more in the coming years.

The Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) says the well-being of our elderly population depends on it.

“If we continue with current budget trends … it’s just basically enough to tread water,” OANHSS CEO Donna Rubin said. “It’s not enough to give a much-needed bump to staffing levels.”

Rubin is making the rounds in southwestern Ontario as she builds her case for Queen’s Park to include an additional $385 million in the budget – phased-in over three years – to address understaffing at the province’s long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS represents not-for-profit providers of long-term care, services and housing for seniors. There are 627 long-term care homes under its umbrella, which translates to 78,120 beds. Of those, 103 homes are operated by municipalities, including the John Noble Home in Brantford.

The association’s budget submission, titled “the need is now,” is centred on raising the number of direct-care hours received by residents in long-term care homes.

Currently, homes provide an average of 3.4 paid hours of care per resident each day. A provincial government-commissioned report from 2008 said that number should be 4.0 paid hours per day to provide an appropriate level of care.

“It would mean more people on the floor – more hands, ears and boots,” Rubin said. “In some homes, the ratio of residents to (Personal Support Worker) can be as high as eight or 10 individuals for one PSW.”

The 2008 report is often referred to as the “Sharkey Report” in the long-term care industry, as it was carried out by Shirlee Sharkey, the president and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Health Care in Hamilton.

The chief recommendation from the report was that better care for seniors in long-term care homes could be achieved by increasing staff capacity.

At the time of the report in 2008, there were approximately 3.1 paid hours of care per day for long-term care residents.

More recently, a task force was commissioned by the province in 2011 to investigate incidents of abuse or neglect in long-term care facilities. Its report drew the same conclusions as the Sharkey Report and, once again, called for an investment in staffing levels by the province.

The complexity of care required by those housed in long-term care facilities offers added pressure.

Based on data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, OANHSS estimates that six out of every 10 residents at long-term care facilities suffer from some form of dementia.

Although many of those cases are acute, Rubin said the number is growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent annually.

“Even more concerning are the numbers of residents with a high level of aggression,” Rubin said. “It’s estimated that 46 per cent of the long-term care population – through no fault of their own and often because of those mental health issues – have challenging or aggressive behaviour.

“We need more staff to be able to monitor what is going on.”

Although understaffing is the main thrust of the OANHSS submission to the province, Rubin said the association has other concerns.

They have made several recommendations to the province to streamline the allocation of dollars for long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS submission says there are four levels of care-funding envelopes and at least a dozen supplementary funding streams, all of which have comprehensive accountability criteria and reporting requirements.

Rubin said the funding formula is inefficient and takes away from the homes’ ability to deliver provincial dollars effectively.

“We are saying put (the money) in the personal care envelope and allow the homes to determine how to best staff,” Rubin said.

In addition to staffing at long-term care facilities, there is also the looming question of accommodations for a growing population.

“You may hear about new long-term care beds, but those are only homes being rebuilt, not added infrastructure,” Rubin said. “There have been no new beds since 2006. The government is loathe to add bricks and mortar.

“There’s about 20,000 seniors on the waiting list now and within six years that’s projected to grow to 48,000.”

Rubin said even improved home care can’t keep up with that number.

Though it won’t be a complete solution, Rubin said more support for services outside of long-term care homes will help alleviate the pressure.

“It’s not just long-term care, but all seniors services,” Rubin said. “If they can’t get into long-term care, they need more adequate services for seniors housing and retirement homes.

“We need adequate support to keep people independent.”

Rubin hopes the provincial government is listening to the OANHSS call for a major investment.

“When people have a family member go into long-term care they entrust us,” Rubin said. “We want to be able to live up to that.

“But we are a completely government-controlled program. The government sets our costs and we can’t charge more – we can’t raise more revenue. They provide the funding. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The need for increased care

Long-term care lobby calls on province to increase budget

News Feb 12, 2015 by Sean Allen Brant News

As Ontario’s Liberal government is crafting a 2015 budget in the face of a $12.5-billion deficit, one group is urging the province to spend hundreds of millions more in the coming years.

The Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) says the well-being of our elderly population depends on it.

“If we continue with current budget trends … it’s just basically enough to tread water,” OANHSS CEO Donna Rubin said. “It’s not enough to give a much-needed bump to staffing levels.”

Rubin is making the rounds in southwestern Ontario as she builds her case for Queen’s Park to include an additional $385 million in the budget – phased-in over three years – to address understaffing at the province’s long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS represents not-for-profit providers of long-term care, services and housing for seniors. There are 627 long-term care homes under its umbrella, which translates to 78,120 beds. Of those, 103 homes are operated by municipalities, including the John Noble Home in Brantford.

The association’s budget submission, titled “the need is now,” is centred on raising the number of direct-care hours received by residents in long-term care homes.

Currently, homes provide an average of 3.4 paid hours of care per resident each day. A provincial government-commissioned report from 2008 said that number should be 4.0 paid hours per day to provide an appropriate level of care.

“It would mean more people on the floor – more hands, ears and boots,” Rubin said. “In some homes, the ratio of residents to (Personal Support Worker) can be as high as eight or 10 individuals for one PSW.”

The 2008 report is often referred to as the “Sharkey Report” in the long-term care industry, as it was carried out by Shirlee Sharkey, the president and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Health Care in Hamilton.

The chief recommendation from the report was that better care for seniors in long-term care homes could be achieved by increasing staff capacity.

At the time of the report in 2008, there were approximately 3.1 paid hours of care per day for long-term care residents.

More recently, a task force was commissioned by the province in 2011 to investigate incidents of abuse or neglect in long-term care facilities. Its report drew the same conclusions as the Sharkey Report and, once again, called for an investment in staffing levels by the province.

The complexity of care required by those housed in long-term care facilities offers added pressure.

Based on data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, OANHSS estimates that six out of every 10 residents at long-term care facilities suffer from some form of dementia.

Although many of those cases are acute, Rubin said the number is growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent annually.

“Even more concerning are the numbers of residents with a high level of aggression,” Rubin said. “It’s estimated that 46 per cent of the long-term care population – through no fault of their own and often because of those mental health issues – have challenging or aggressive behaviour.

“We need more staff to be able to monitor what is going on.”

Although understaffing is the main thrust of the OANHSS submission to the province, Rubin said the association has other concerns.

They have made several recommendations to the province to streamline the allocation of dollars for long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS submission says there are four levels of care-funding envelopes and at least a dozen supplementary funding streams, all of which have comprehensive accountability criteria and reporting requirements.

Rubin said the funding formula is inefficient and takes away from the homes’ ability to deliver provincial dollars effectively.

“We are saying put (the money) in the personal care envelope and allow the homes to determine how to best staff,” Rubin said.

In addition to staffing at long-term care facilities, there is also the looming question of accommodations for a growing population.

“You may hear about new long-term care beds, but those are only homes being rebuilt, not added infrastructure,” Rubin said. “There have been no new beds since 2006. The government is loathe to add bricks and mortar.

“There’s about 20,000 seniors on the waiting list now and within six years that’s projected to grow to 48,000.”

Rubin said even improved home care can’t keep up with that number.

Though it won’t be a complete solution, Rubin said more support for services outside of long-term care homes will help alleviate the pressure.

“It’s not just long-term care, but all seniors services,” Rubin said. “If they can’t get into long-term care, they need more adequate services for seniors housing and retirement homes.

“We need adequate support to keep people independent.”

Rubin hopes the provincial government is listening to the OANHSS call for a major investment.

“When people have a family member go into long-term care they entrust us,” Rubin said. “We want to be able to live up to that.

“But we are a completely government-controlled program. The government sets our costs and we can’t charge more – we can’t raise more revenue. They provide the funding. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”

FOCUS ON SENIORS: The need for increased care

Long-term care lobby calls on province to increase budget

News Feb 12, 2015 by Sean Allen Brant News

As Ontario’s Liberal government is crafting a 2015 budget in the face of a $12.5-billion deficit, one group is urging the province to spend hundreds of millions more in the coming years.

The Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS) says the well-being of our elderly population depends on it.

“If we continue with current budget trends … it’s just basically enough to tread water,” OANHSS CEO Donna Rubin said. “It’s not enough to give a much-needed bump to staffing levels.”

Rubin is making the rounds in southwestern Ontario as she builds her case for Queen’s Park to include an additional $385 million in the budget – phased-in over three years – to address understaffing at the province’s long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS represents not-for-profit providers of long-term care, services and housing for seniors. There are 627 long-term care homes under its umbrella, which translates to 78,120 beds. Of those, 103 homes are operated by municipalities, including the John Noble Home in Brantford.

The association’s budget submission, titled “the need is now,” is centred on raising the number of direct-care hours received by residents in long-term care homes.

Currently, homes provide an average of 3.4 paid hours of care per resident each day. A provincial government-commissioned report from 2008 said that number should be 4.0 paid hours per day to provide an appropriate level of care.

“It would mean more people on the floor – more hands, ears and boots,” Rubin said. “In some homes, the ratio of residents to (Personal Support Worker) can be as high as eight or 10 individuals for one PSW.”

The 2008 report is often referred to as the “Sharkey Report” in the long-term care industry, as it was carried out by Shirlee Sharkey, the president and CEO of Saint Elizabeth Health Care in Hamilton.

The chief recommendation from the report was that better care for seniors in long-term care homes could be achieved by increasing staff capacity.

At the time of the report in 2008, there were approximately 3.1 paid hours of care per day for long-term care residents.

More recently, a task force was commissioned by the province in 2011 to investigate incidents of abuse or neglect in long-term care facilities. Its report drew the same conclusions as the Sharkey Report and, once again, called for an investment in staffing levels by the province.

The complexity of care required by those housed in long-term care facilities offers added pressure.

Based on data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information, OANHSS estimates that six out of every 10 residents at long-term care facilities suffer from some form of dementia.

Although many of those cases are acute, Rubin said the number is growing at a rate of 2.5 per cent annually.

“Even more concerning are the numbers of residents with a high level of aggression,” Rubin said. “It’s estimated that 46 per cent of the long-term care population – through no fault of their own and often because of those mental health issues – have challenging or aggressive behaviour.

“We need more staff to be able to monitor what is going on.”

Although understaffing is the main thrust of the OANHSS submission to the province, Rubin said the association has other concerns.

They have made several recommendations to the province to streamline the allocation of dollars for long-term care facilities.

The OANHSS submission says there are four levels of care-funding envelopes and at least a dozen supplementary funding streams, all of which have comprehensive accountability criteria and reporting requirements.

Rubin said the funding formula is inefficient and takes away from the homes’ ability to deliver provincial dollars effectively.

“We are saying put (the money) in the personal care envelope and allow the homes to determine how to best staff,” Rubin said.

In addition to staffing at long-term care facilities, there is also the looming question of accommodations for a growing population.

“You may hear about new long-term care beds, but those are only homes being rebuilt, not added infrastructure,” Rubin said. “There have been no new beds since 2006. The government is loathe to add bricks and mortar.

“There’s about 20,000 seniors on the waiting list now and within six years that’s projected to grow to 48,000.”

Rubin said even improved home care can’t keep up with that number.

Though it won’t be a complete solution, Rubin said more support for services outside of long-term care homes will help alleviate the pressure.

“It’s not just long-term care, but all seniors services,” Rubin said. “If they can’t get into long-term care, they need more adequate services for seniors housing and retirement homes.

“We need adequate support to keep people independent.”

Rubin hopes the provincial government is listening to the OANHSS call for a major investment.

“When people have a family member go into long-term care they entrust us,” Rubin said. “We want to be able to live up to that.

“But we are a completely government-controlled program. The government sets our costs and we can’t charge more – we can’t raise more revenue. They provide the funding. We are caught between a rock and a hard place.”