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Ontario Launches Home Care Plan to Improve Access and Expand Service

Province to Provide 80,000 Additional Nursing Hours for Patients with Complex Care Needs 

May 13, 2015 

Ontario’s new plan for home and community care includes an increase to home care nursing service hours to meet the needs of patients with complex care needs. 

Funding for an additional 80,000 hours of nursing care is part of the 2015 Budget commitment to increase investment in home and community care by more than $750 million over the next three years. These extra hours of care will make it possible for individuals with complex conditions to receive care where they want to be – in their home and community, instead of in a hospital or in long-term care.  

The proposal to provide more nursing hours is part of Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care – a new plan to improve and expand home and community care over the next three years.  

This new plan outlines how the government will transform how care is delivered at home and in the community. In addition to increasing nursing hours, key initiatives will include:  

  • Expanding supports for family caregivers  
  • Giving clients and caregivers greater say in choosing a provider, and how and when that provider delivers services  
  • Clear and consistent levels of home and community care services no matter where in the province a patient lives  
  • Enhancing support for personal support workers  
  • Providing greater choice for palliative and end-of-life care.  

This new roadmap responds to recommendations in Bringing Care Home, a report from the expert group on home and community care. At each step, the government will consult with clients, their advocates and caregivers, as well as with providers and leaders in the home and community care sector to ensure that all voices are heard.  

Helping more people access better health care faster and closer to home is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, which is providing patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that’s sustainable for generations to come.  

QUOTES  

“Ontario is making big changes to improve home and community care, one of our government’s most important health care priorities. Our new plan puts patients and their caregivers first by improving access and expanding services. We know that people who receive care in their homes –  where they want to be – tend to heal faster because they are happier and more comfortable in a familiar setting. Our new plan outlines the path we will follow together with patients, caregivers and providers to improve the care people receive no matter where they live across the province.”  — Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care 

“As Ontario’s population ages, the need for senior-focused health care services grows ever more important. Our government’s commitment is to help seniors age with dignity and to achieve this we are continuing to invest in services that will help more seniors get the right care so they can age in the place they most want to be, in their homes.”  — Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors  

“I am pleased the Ontario government is moving in the right direction with its plan to ensure that the home and community care sector is truly client- and caregiver-centred. This is an important first step in introducing greater quality and consistency across the province when it comes to the care that clients and caregivers can expect at home and in the community, and I look forward to the next phase of the transformation."  — Gail Donner, Chair, Expert Group on Home and Community Care  

QUICK FACTS  

  • Home and community services support people of all ages who require care in their home, at school or in the community.  
  • In the 2015 Budget, the government proposed to increase investment in home and community care by $750 million over the next three years.  
  • In 2014-15, Ontario invested an additional $270 million in new funding for the home and community care sector.  
  • Home care is provided to more than 600,000 people per year – 60 per cent of whom are seniors – including 27 million hours of personal support and homemaking, 6.5 million nursing visits and 1.9 million hours of nursing shifts.
  • Community support services assist about 1.46 million people per year who are mostly seniors.  

LEARN MORE  

For public inquiries call ServiceOntario, INFOline at 1-866-532-3161 (Toll-free in Ontario only) 

Media Contacts:  

Shae Greenfield, Minister’s Office, 416-325-5230  
David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care  416-314-6197 


ministry of health and long-term care backgrounder image

Patients First: 
A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care 

May 13, 2015 
Ontario is making it easier for patients and their caregivers to access better care at home and in the community through Patients First: A Roadmap to Strengthen Home and Community Care – a new plan to improve and expand home and community care. 

Based on recommendations in Bringing Care Home, a report from the expert group on home and community care, the plan includes 10 steps toward higher quality, more consistent and better integrated home and community care. It also lays out clear timelines to achieve these goals over the next three years. 

1. Develop a statement of values with a focus on patient- and caregiver-centred care 

The starting point is making sure that Ontario’s home and community care sector meets the needs of patients and their caregivers. Together with clients, caregivers and providers, the government will develop a statement of shared home and community care values. This statement will reflect a true patient- and caregiver-centred approach to care and will guide the transformation of home and community care. 

2. Create a Levels of Care Framework 

Ontario is making it easier for patients and their caregivers to understand what they can expect when care is needed at home or in the community. The government will develop clear definitions of how much and what kind of support Ontarians can expect based on their care needs with the development of a Levels of Care Framework to be implemented across the province to ensure more consistent access. 

3. Increase funding for home and community care 

In the 2015 Budget, the government proposed that it will extend its commitment to increase funding for home and community care by an additional $750 million across the province over the next three years. 

4. Move forward with Bundled Care 

Ontario is helping health care organizations provide better and more integrated care for patients and their families, with a new payment model called Bundled Care. This coordinated approach will help patients transition more smoothly out of hospital and into their home. It also builds on the success of St. Joseph’s Health System’s Integrated Comprehensive Care Demonstration Project where integrating funding across multiple providers and care settings improved the patient experience, reduced time spent in hospital and decreased the number of emergency room visits. 

5. Offer self-directed care to give patients more control 

Over the next two years, Ontario will pilot different approaches to giving eligible Ontarians more choice over who provides services in their home and when these services are delivered. The goal is to empower patients and caregivers by giving them more flexibility and control over their care plans by involving them more in the planning, organizing and coordination of care they receive. 

6. Expand caregiver supports 

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding. It can also be challenging, both emotionally and physically. The government recognizes the important contributions of caregivers and will provide more support for caregivers, including training and education, improved access to information and respite care. 

7. Enhance support for Personal Support Workers 

Personal Support Workers provide the majority of direct care services in the home and community care sector. They play a critical role, providing support with daily living activities including bathing, feeding and dressing. Over three years, beginning in 2014-15, Ontario is increasing the base wage of publicly funded Personal Support Workers who work in home and community care by up to $4.00 an hour to at least $16.50 per hour by April 1, 2016. 

8. Increase nursing services for patients with complex needs 

The government intends to increase the number of visits and hours that nurses can spend with patients who have highly complex care needs. A proposed additional investment of $5 million would equate to more than 80,000 additional hours of nursing care. This will help reduce the burden on caregivers and meet the long-term health needs of patients, supporting them at home and keeping them out of hospitals and long-term care. A public consultation will inform the new level of nursing services available through Community Care Access Centres. It is currently proposed that clients with complex needs could receive up to 150 visits per month, up from 120 visits each month. Ontarians in the last stages of life or awaiting placement in a long-term care home could receive nursing services above this limit. 

9. Provide greater choice for palliative and end-of-life care 

The government will develop a patient-centred framework for palliative and end-of-life care by engaging with clients, caregivers and leaders in the delivery of palliative services. This new framework will focus on ensuring equitable access to palliative care for all Ontarians, supporting formal and informal caregivers, and providing coordinated care where clients want it. 

10. Plan for the future 

Ontario is developing a capacity plan to ensure that our health system has the capacity and resources required to meet the current and future health care needs of an aging population. Coordinated, province-wide planning will help ensure value for money and that Ontarians can continue to get the services they need when they need them. 

Moving forward, Ontario will continue to seek expert advice, work with sector partners and engage the community to ensure Ontario’s roadmap is delivering the highest quality home and community care. 

Shae Greenfield, Minister’s Office, 416-325-5230 
David Jensen, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, 
416-314-6197 
ontario.ca/health-news 
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