Increased staffing levels leading to more direct care for residents at long-term care homes is the goal of the provincial government, according to an Oct. 15 press release from MPP Laurie Scott that announces more than $4 million for long-term care homes in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock.
“The Ontario government will provide up to $270 million this year to long-term care homes across the province to increase staffing levels, leading to more direct care for residents,” reads the press release. “This includes $4,199,774 for long-term care homes in Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock. This is part of the province’s commitment to ensure long-term care residents receive – on average – four hours of direct care per day by 2025. It was also announced that as part of the government’s plan to fix long-term care, it will bring forward legislation that will enshrine its commitment to four hours of care into law.”
According to the press release, Hyland Crest in Minden will receive up to $220,852 for additional staffing this year to increase the hours of direct care for residents, with the facility receiving $1,352,700 annually more than their current funding by 2025. In Haliburton, Highland Wood will receive up to $106,861 for additional staffing this year, and by 2025 will receive $654,528 more than their current funding annually. Extendicare in Haliburton will receive $156,738 for additional staffing, and $959,976 annually more than their current funding by 2025.
“This funding will allow long-term care homes in our community to hire additional staff so they can provide a better quality of care to local residents,” said Scott. “This is part of our government’s plan to train, hire, and retain thousands of new staff over the next four years.”
Currently, reads the press release, residents receive an average of two hours and 45 minutes of direct care from nurses and personal support workers. The funding is planned to increase the daily average to three hours per resident per day by the end of this fiscal year. It also includes $42.8 million to homes to increase care by allied health care professionals (such as physiotherapists and social workers) by 10 per cent this year.
Carolyn Plummer, Haliburton Highlands Health Services CEO and president, said that while general funding information was shared with long-term care facilities, HHHS had not yet received funding letters specifying the exact amount the two HHHS managed homes would receive.
“The hours of direct care provided by nurses and personal support workers in our two LTC homes is slightly lower than the provincial average, and is limited by our current funding; this new funding increase will indeed help, however without the detailed funding letter it is too soon for us to know whether it will be sufficient to help reach the target of four hours of direct care per day,” she told the Times on Tuesday evening.
“In addition to increased funding to support more direct care hours, HHHS is advocating for resources to support many aspects of LTC, including (but not limited to) funding to support ongoing dedicated infection prevention and control services, increased resources to enhance quality improvement efforts, funding to support building upgrades and renovations, increased per diem funding for resident meals, and additional funding to increase other support services such as laundry, dietary, and maintenance.”
“I am incredibly proud of the teams we have in both of our LTC homes; they have always done an amazing job providing top quality care for our residents, and in particular they have persevered throughout the pandemic during some seemingly impossible times,” said Plummer. “I am grateful to see that funding is beginning to flow to bring much-needed resources to support our residents and to support the staff who work so hard every day to care for them.”