TORONTO, March 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today's provincial budget included welcomed funding commitments in response to priorities raised by the Ontario Association of Non-Profit Homes and Services for Seniors (OANHSS), most notably $40 million to add new staff and additional investments in recognition of the increasing care needs of residents.
"This is really a good news budget for long term care home residents," said Debbie Humphreys, Acting CEO of OANHSS. "We are very aware of the unprecedented fiscal challenges this government continues to face. This level of investment in the current environment clearly demonstrates the McGuinty government's commitment to improving the lives of Ontario's seniors."
In its 2008-09 budget, the government committed to add 2500 personal support workers over a three-year period. Funding announced today will bring on an additional 1100 PSWs and fulfill this promise.
"We are very pleased to see funding in the budget for new PSW positions," added Humphreys. "Residents will see a direct benefit from this investment through enhanced levels of care and services."
PSWs are a critically important component of the staffing mix in long term care homes. They support residents with the most basic activities of daily living such as bathing, eating and dressing that are so important to residents' quality of life.
Also of significance in this budget is funding to assist homes in meeting the increasingly complex care needs of residents.
"Residents are older, frailer and more chronically ill than ever before and with the growing challenge of alternate level of care, homes are taking on the heaviest care patients that are coming out of hospitals. This funding allows homes to better care for residents."
OANHSS understands that today's budget also includes new investments for the community support services sector and will be looking for further details on this in the coming weeks.
In its pre-budget submission to government, OANHSS also put forward several "no cost" proposals including a recommendation to immediately launch a comprehensive capacity planning exercise that encompasses the continuum of seniors' care, including home care, long term care, seniors' and supportive housing, and community services with the goal of implementing the plan as soon as the Ontario government returns to balanced budgets.
The Association also recommended that the government consolidate its oversight of all planning and programming for seniors' within a Cabinet committee to reverse the current "silo" approach to the sector.
"We look forward to discussions with the government on these important policy priorities," said Humphreys.
OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors' housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 5,000 seniors' housing units across the province.