Ontario Government Supporting Long-Term Care and our Seniors
$243 Million in Emergency Long-Term Care Funding to Meet the Need
March 30, 2020
The government is spending $243 million for long-term care homes to support 24/7 screening, additional staffing, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, and additional surge capacity. This financial commitment is just one part of the plan of the Ministry of Long-Term Care under the leadership of Dr. Merrilee Fullerton. The investments are part of what is described as building an “iron ring” around Ontario’s long-term care homes.
Today the Ontario Government added a further investment of $10 million to help community organizations with the coordination of subsidized deliveries of meals, medicines and other necessities to seniors. The government is also working with grocers and pharmacists to prioritize seniors’ delivery orders and establish senior-only shopping hours.
The Ministry of Health also put out a public letter today strongly urging those over the age of 70 to self-isolate on the recommendation of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Protecting Long-Term Care Residents – Ontario Actions So Far
On March 28, the Ministry of Long-Term Care started redeploying its highly qualified inspectors. These nurses, dieticians, and physiotherapists will be supporting long-term care homes on the ground through staff supply, care coordination, serving as point-people with Public Health, helping homes to prevent and contain infections, and many other tasks necessary to the safety and security of residents. Redeploying inspectors to help with critical areas of need was also done in the long-term care sector during SARS in 2003. This model was effective in supporting homes through that pandemic.
On March 23, the government issued an order under the declaration of emergency to ensure personnel are properly deployed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to keep staff, volunteers and residents in long-term care homes safe. This temporary order gives long-term care homes the ability to free-up valuable staff, identify staffing priorities, and develop, modify and implement redeployment plans. The Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) also issued a new directive restricting residents from leaving a home to visit family of friends.
On March 13, the CMOH issued a memo recommending that long-term care homes limit access only to essential visitors – those who have a relative who is dying or very ill. Before that, the government had recently instructed long-term care homes to begin active screening of staff, students, volunteers, visitors, residents moving into a long-term care home and residents returning to a long-term care home. These individuals will now be proactively checked for symptoms and asked about recent travel history and contacts.
Quotes from Effie Triantafilopoulos MPP:
“I urge all those over the age of 70 to self-isolate as recommended by Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. Seniors have worked hard and built the Ontario we live in today. Now is the time for us to protect and keep them safe, by providing them the essential needs so they can stay home.”
“We must do everything we can to care for and support Ontario’s most vulnerable population – our seniors. As Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Long-Term Care, I know the risk that COVID-19 Coronavirus poses to our loved ones in long-term care homes.”
“We must build an iron ring around Ontario’s long-term care homes, increasing testing and screening for residents and staff. LTC residents are highly vulnerable to COVID-19 and that’s why we’ve invested $243 million to help keep them safe.”