February 16, 2017: Ontario Must Make Seniors a Priority

Ontario Must Make Seniors a Priority

Toronto, Ontario (February 16, 2017) – Ontario’s seniors are not getting the attention they deserve, and the government must prioritize long term care spending to ensure appropriate support for our frail and elderly, warns the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS).

Across the province, 26,500 seniors with multiple, complex medical conditions are languishing at home or in hospital while waiting for a much-needed long term care bed. Without priority spending by the provincial government in this area, this waitlist will grow to almost 48,000 people within the next five years. To address this issue, OANHSS is calling for 2,500 – 5,000 beds over the next two years as a starting point to meet demand.

“The government’s priority in recent years on home care is certainly welcomed, but it fails to address seniors who desperately need long term care,” says Catharine Gapp, CEO of OANHSS. She says family caregivers, while doing their best, continue to burn out, and in-home care can only go so far when a person has multiple, complex medical conditions. The end result is a senior, and oftentimes a family caregiver, exhausted and in crisis. “Our seniors deserve better. The waitlist is going to only get longer unless the government takes action now.”

When seniors do secure a long term care bed, they need adequate staffing with proper training to look after them. Staff at Ontario’s long term care homes have been challenged for years to support residents based on available funding. For this reason, OANHSS is continuing to call on the government to increase staffing levels to a provincial average of 4.0 hours per resident per day over the next two years.

The 4.0 hour target was first identified in the Sharkey Report, which was commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in 2008 and endorsed by the government.

“At 3.4 hours per resident per day, current staffing levels continue to fall far short of the 4.0 hours recommended in the Sharkey Report,” adds Gapp. “An additional half hour of care would make a big difference for residents.”

More beds and more care hours are just two of 16 recommendations for the government that OANHSS has outlined in its new spending priorities paper, Meeting Seniors’ Needs Now. Copies are available at www.oanhss.org.

OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include not-for-profit long term care homes (municipal, charitable and non-profit nursing homes), seniors’ housing, supportive housing, and community service agencies. Member organizations serve over 36,000 long term care residents annually and operate over 8,000 seniors’ housing units across the province.

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Media contact:

Debbie Humphreys
Senior Director, Corporate and Public Affairs
(905) 851 8821 ext. 233