FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Foundation of Ontario’s health care system is at serious risk from under funding care in the community
EASTERN ONTARIO, February 15, 2023 - As Ontario struggles to ensure all people have access to health care, a critical piece of it is being underfunded by the Provincial Government leaving tens thousands of people at risk in Eastern Ontario. Home and community care offers people, especially seniors and people living with disabilities, access to health care in their homes and to services in the community.
While the Provincial Government announced $1 Billion in funding a year ago to support home and community care services, the reality for local agencies such as Carefor is that the money has not arrived. What this has meant for Carefor is a considerable financial strain as a result of inflation and a decrease in staffing levels as staff such as personal support workers and nurses have left for jobs in hospitals and long-term care which can pay at least $5 more an hour.
With reduced staffing comes less ability to provide care to people across Eastern Ontario. Since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Carefor has seen a 25% loss of nurses, 28% loss of PSWs and a 15% decrease in community support staff and volunteers such as drivers and day program staff. This has resulted in a 21% reduction in the number of in-home nursing visits and a 14% reduction in personal support visits.
“Someone’s life is impacted every time we cannot service a home care visit, as a result of staffing challenges,” says Carefor CEO Steve Perry. “It means a loved one who may already be overwhelmed has to do even more. Because of this, more of our seniors are ending up in hospital and long-term care which costs taxpayers up to seven times more a day for care. Our health care system can no longer sustain this. We’re in a critical place at this point.”
Carefor is one of dozens of home and community care agencies across Ontario that are speaking out about the desperate need for the Provincial Government to immediately release funding to the sector. If gaps continue, more Ontarians will see access to services in the home and community, such as home care, meals delivery, transportation to medical care, and assisted living programs disappear.
Studies done by the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) show that without urgent investment, there will be a drastic 27% reduction in the service volume provided by Community Support Service (CSS) organizations, including independent living organizations, across the province.
This would equate to 870,000 hours of community-based care such as respite, personal support and homemaking services not being delivered to clients, over half a million meals not being delivered to those in need, and over 200,000 fewer rides available to clients for critical medical appointments.
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Carefor has been providing care to the people of Eastern Ontario since 1897. Today, Carefor offers over 35 different services to seniors and people living with disabilities in Ottawa, Pembroke-Renfrew County and the Eastern Counties including in-home nursing and personal support services as well as community support services, a hospice in Cornwall and three retirement homes.
Carefor’s focus is to offer care, compassion and community to local, vulnerable seniors. Our services offer seniors choice through a holistic suite of services which help them continue to live at home as long as possible. Learn more at carefor.ca.
For more information, contact:
Senior Manager, Communications, Marketing & Fundraising
Carefor Health & Community Services
613-749-7557 x 2021