People with complex care needs to benefit from changes to home care services in Ontario
Toronto, ONTARIO – Community Living Ontario is pleased with recent changes made by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term-Care regarding the regulation governing the provision of home care services in the province. Effective April 1, 2018, the government amended the home care service maximums set out in Regulation 386/99 of the Home Care and Community Services Act. The amendment increases the combined service maximum for homemaking and personal support services to 120 hours in any 30-day period. In addition, people with complex care needs are now defined under the regulation and are exempt from the service maximum and nursing service maximums.
“Community Living Ontario believes the changes will provide much needed support and safeguards for many Ontarians,” said Community Living Ontario CEO, Chris Beesley, “in particular, for people who have an intellectual disability at risk of being inappropriately moved from their home to a long-term care facility as a result of their need for support.”
“We expect that the government will also use the regulatory change as a tool to help the estimated 2,000 people who have an intellectual disability and who are inappropriately housed in long-term care facilities to plan for a return to the community.”
The regulatory change follows a human rights complaint brought forward by Audrey Cole and her son, Ian, in 2016. At the time, Community Care Access Centre in Lanark County informed the Coles that Ian would have to move to a long-term care facility in order to get the daily nursing care he required. Ian lives in his own home with a roommate, and there was no question about his desire to continue to do so. The only barrier to this occurring was the fact that he needed five brief nursing visits a day, one more than was previously allowed by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.
Community Living Ontario, along with People First of Ontario, the Canadian Association for Community Living, and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, supported the Coles and applied to intervene in the case. The effort resulted in an initial increase in the caps on home care visits in 2016, which was followed by a consultation process to explore additional ways of ensuring that people with complex support needs were able to live in their own home and receive the assistance they required. The recent regulatory change is in response to recommendations of the consultation process to define complex needs under home care and to make provisions to allow service support maximums to be responsive to the unique needs of those who meet the definition.
“There have been very positive consequences for Ian since the regulation was first changed from four to five nursing visits,” said Audrey Cole. “Not only does Ian get to stay in his own home, he now receives the necessary nursing visits and has had only one infection requiring antibiotics since.”
“With the flexibility now provided under the amended regulation, such situations should never arise. That alone represents a major change in community health care for which Ian and I are very grateful.”
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Community Living Ontario is a family-based association assisting people who have an intellectual disability and their families to lead the way in advancing inclusion in their lives and in their communities. We represent more than 12,000 people, families and over 100 member organizations across the province.
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