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What is the Future of Home Care?

Updated: Jan 28, 2019

In today's article we wanted to draw attention to some important proposed changes in regards to our home and community care in this province (Ontario).

Over the years government funded home care supports have been plagued with ongoing issues. Some of the most common complaints often heard by SCC include:

  • Not enough care offered

  • Lack of consistency(i.e people with similar care needs not receiving the same care)

  • Lack of continuity of care(i.e. different workers coming each day in home to provide care)

  • Not offering the help or types of services that people actually want 

Our Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Dr. Eric Hoskins, recently outlined future plans  for home and community care, as an attempt to address such issues. The discussed measures are being put in place as a means to keep up with the growing care needs of our aging population.

For those of you who have not heard the proposed plans, or have not had a chance to review them, below are the 10 points from Dr. Hoskins plan to improve home and community care.

  1. Develop a Statement of Home and Community Care Values: Such a statement is to be composed in order to provide guidance and a framework in moving forward with the transformation of home/community care.

  2. Create a Levels of Care Framework: This point looks to provide consistency in assessments and services offered, regardless of location within the province . It is known by many that currently those with similar care needs at times do not receive the same amount of care/services, simply due to location or subjectivity of the staff doing the assessment.  With this proposed plan it would mean that if one falls within a particular level of care category, there would be a standard care package that would be offered to anyone within this level, regardless of location within the province.

  3. Increase Funding for Home and Community Care: A 5% increase in funding over the next 3 years, which equates to $750 million. More funding in order to offer care services to attend to the needs of our aging population.

  4. Bundled Care: Currently home care services may be delivered by various different providers, with insufficient coordination and integration. The proposed plans looks to provide a single payment to a  group of providers to cover all of a client/patient's care needs.

  5. Self-Directed Care: This would involve providing funding to individuals in need of care and allowing them to decide how to use such funds. They can direct the use of funds for the care services they are in need of, from the care service provider(s) of their choice, and set a schedule with service providers that works for them. Instead of CCAC directing/arranging care, the individual essentially will get funds to use as they feel best in order to address their care needs.

  6. Expand Caregiver Supports: The plan looks to provide education, training and respite care, so caregivers can take care of their loved one, as well as themselves.

  7. Enhanced Support for Personal Support Workers(PSW):  Workers who are provided  professional development/training, job security and are compensated well, are more likely to provide better care/services to their clients. Furthermore they will remain consistent in employment with an organization, the result of which is consistent staffing for those receiving care.  As such, the province proposes a wage increase of  $4/hr for PSWs, bringing  their base wage to $16.50/hr. The province also will look to invest in education and professional development for PSWs. This is being offered with the hopes to create greater stability in the work force,which hopefully would lead to great consistency and continuity of care.

  8. Provide More Nursing Services: A proposed increase to the maximum number of nursing hours a person can receive, which will equate to an increase of 80,000 nursing hours across the province.  Furthermore, there will be flexibility in  allowing CCAC to extend these hours in special circumstances.

  9. Greater Choice for Palliative and End of Life Care: This would include expanding the number hospices in the province(and providing funding for them),  providing enhanced support for caregivers, as well as providing enhanced public education around Advanced Care Planning

  10. Develop Capacity Plan: Over the next 3 yrs develop a capacity plan for home/community care that will include targets for the provision of services, quality of care,  and standards for accessing community care across the province. 

Although some points in the plan are more vague in description, further detail likely will follow in the future months and years.  Overall, the above plan aims to provide consistency of care across the province, in providing quality and adequate supports, while allowing those receiving care to be able to engage in directing their own care. 

Although it may be unrealistic to expect the province to provide for all the care needs of citizens in every circumstance, this proposed plan hopefully will be a move in the right direction to ensure those who need care will have access to it. 

For further details regarding this 10 point plan click here

Watch the video of Dr. Eric Hoskins announcement- here

Until next time... Stay In The Know! Stay Informed!

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