New long-term care, community support services strategy
June 20, 2012
Long-Term Care and Community Support Services Strategy Released
A 10-year strategy to guide and transform the delivery of long-term care in Newfoundland and Labrador was released today (Wednesday, June 20) by the Provincial Government. Close to Home: A Strategy for Long-Term Care and Community Support Services will help revitalize and strengthen long-term care services throughout the province. The strategy provides a series of goals and actions that, taken together, will lead to significant improvements in long-term care and community support services.
“Our commitment to long-term care and community support services is strong, demonstrated through an annual investment of approximately $600 million,” said the Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors. “Over the next five years we will significantly increase our total annual investments up to $760 million, as a result of the goals and actions of our strategy which will strengthen the continuum of health services for all people of our province. This strategy is setting a course to guide our province as we address our changing communities, shifting demographics and increasing prevalence of chronic disease.”
The strategy is focused on helping people requiring long-term care and community support services achieve optimal independence and quality of life in their homes and communities. This will be realized by addressing health and social needs; optimizing rights and participation in decision-making; encouraging choice, independence and mobility; and, demonstrating standards of quality in all aspects of service.
Minister Sullivan also announced today two new initiatives as part of Close to Home that will see a pilot project for personal care homes established and the development of an age-friendly transportation grants program.
Personal care homes in Newfoundland and Labrador are an integral component of the residential care system. Approximately $1.5 million will be allocated for an Enhanced Care in Personal Care Homes Pilot Project, which will take place over an 18-month period. This pilot will allow residents to receive enhanced residential services as close to home as possible. Currently, the personal care home sector is licensed to provide care and accommodation to individuals who require low-level residential care and can function independently with some degree of assistance. This pilot will allow admission of up to eight residents requiring a higher level of care in three personal care homes. These homes will be selected through Request for Proposals.
“The personal care home industry looks forward to partnering with the Provincial Government on this new initiative,” said Beverly Russell, President of the Quality Living Alliance for Seniors Association and owner of Cambridge Estates and Calling Wood Downs Seniors Complex. “This pilot will provide additional opportunities for clients to continue living in their communities and close to their families by building additional bed capacity within the long-term care system.”
To address challenges faced by seniors concerning transportation, $1.5 million over three years is being allocated for the Age-Friendly NL Transportation Project. It will assist incorporated non-governmental organizations, municipal governments, Inuit community governments and/or reserves to explore public and private sector partnerships to create age-friendly transportation models. Successful applicants may receive a grant of up to $100,000 per year for up to three years to develop and implement an innovative age-friendly transportation model.
“I applaud the Provincial Government’s commitment to finding new and innovative ways to address challenges faced by seniors,” said Leo Bonnell, Chair of the Provincial Advisory Council on Aging and Seniors. “Providing transportation services to and from medical appointments, banks, social activities, and shopping can make a big difference in the quality of life for a senior. I am pleased to see such an important issue as age-friendly transportation options addressed in the provincial long-term care and community support services strategy.”
Physicians, regional health authorities and health care providers will play an integral role in the implementation and delivery of the goals and actions outlined in the long-term care and community support services strategy. The Provincial Government looks forward to working with all health care providers to implement and deliver the goals and actions of Close to Home.
“On behalf of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, I would like to commend the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador on the direction of this strategy,” said Dr. Tony Gabriel, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association. “The number of seniors is increasing in the province and with that comes a growing need for appropriate levels of care to better meet their complex needs. We are pleased to see that the Provincial Government acknowledges the reality of these challenges and that we now have a plan for the future.”
In addition to the new investments announced today, Budget 2012 also includes $101 million to strengthen the long-term care system and directly support the implementation of the strategy, including increased funding for the Home Support Program; an increase to the current home support hourly subsidy rate; funding to continue the implementation of the interRAI assessment instrument; 100 new portable subsidies to the Personal Care Home Program; and, ongoing investments for the development of five long-term care infrastructure projects in St. John’s, Carbonear, Lewisporte, Corner Brook and Bonavista.
“Our government has made long-term care and community support services a top priority and we are laying out a comprehensive and focused vision for the next decade,” said Minister Sullivan. “We’ve developed a strategy that is responsive and meets the needs of today and into the future. Providing care as close to a person’s home as possible has always been our goal, and I believe that this strategy will guide our province and lay the groundwork for long-term care and community support services for many years to come.”
Please visit www.gov.nl.ca/health to obtain a copy of Close to Home: A Strategy for Long-Term Care and Community Support Services; for details on the Request for Proposals for the Enhanced Care in Personal Care Homes Pilot Project; and, for guidelines and application details for the Age-Friendly NL Transportation Project.