Long Term Care homes in the Province are to receive additional funding to increase staffing levels by hiring over 4,000 new staff. The new funding of $270 million is part of $4.9 billion promised between now and 2025 to enable LTC homes to hire around 27,000 care staff, which would ensure that residents receive an average of four hours of direct care per day.
“We know that more qualified staff means more daily care for residents,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of Long Term Care. “Hiring more staff is part of our government’s plan to fix long term care and to improve the quality of care residents receive and the quality of life they experience.”
The Ontario Government intends to legislate the 4-hour per day per patient commitment, and this would increase the daily length of direct care to patients from the current average of two and three-quarter hours.
Direct care, according to Ministry guidelines, is “hands-on care that includes personal care, such as feeding, bathing and dressing, as well as other important tasks such as helping residents move, medical/therapeutic treatments, and providing medication”. The increased funding announced by the Minister will increase the daily average to 3 hours per resident per day, by the end of this fiscal year. Jill Dunlop, Minister of Colleges and Universities, pointed out during the funding announcement, that a focus on graduating more qualified care workers is being developed with educational institutions. “By working with our post-secondary education partners, we are training and educating more talent to support the long term care sector in communities across the Province.”
The Government has committed to providing funding to enable LTC homes to hire qualified staff over the coming years. The announced timetable is for $270 million in 2021-22, $673 million in 2022-23, $1.25 billion in 2023-24, and $1.82 billion in 2024-25.
LTC homes will receive specific allocations from the funds for the period up to 2024-25, to assist them in planning future staffing needs to meet the new care requirements.
The Province also announced the launch of a $10 million annual fund to support ongoing professional development opportunities in long-term care, through the Supporting Professional Growth Fund. The Fund will support training opportunities for long term care staff to help them stay current on best practices in their field.