Lodge encourages participation in letter writing campaign to see better care provided for seniors

GORE BAY—The Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home has launched and is encouraging Island residents to participate in a letter writing campaign, calling on the province to take action to help provide for better care for seniors in Ontario.

“It’s a campaign we are participating in called the Better Senior Care campaign, through the Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA),” stated Chantelle Taylor, resident and family services coordinator at Manitoulin Lodge. “We are encouraging members of the community and beyond to participate in the campaign. People can support us in this campaign by sending letters online or they can provide us their name and address and we can submit the forms for them.” The campaign will continue through the spring.

The OLTCA stated, “we have received confirmation from the Ministry that long-term care will receive a two percent increase to level of care funding. The government committed within the (recent) budget that this two percent increase will be for the next three years. In addition, it was announced that beginning this year, $10 million will be allocated annually for long-term care behavioural supports. We have received verbal commitment that this will also be for three years. We will continue to message to the ministry the extreme importance of directing the LHINs (Local Health Integrated Networks) to ensure these funds go directly to long-term care homes. The decision on increases is largely tied to resident co-pay changes, which along with preferred accommodation increases are typically announced at the end of May for implementation on July 1.”

“We expect that the funding, when it does come through, will be retroactive to April 1, 2016.”

However, capital renewal remains one of the top priorities for the association’s advocacy work,” the OLTCA explains. “The association is actively engaged on three separate working groups to make progress happen on the current iteration of the capital renewal program. Our focus remains on increased funding, flexibility for additional top-up licenses and movement, design flexibilities, and additional support for smaller projects.”

“Our home won a first place prize in our bed category last year and our resident council won $500 that they put towards the Angel Bus for having the most submissions sent to our local MPP,” said Ms. Taylor.

“The need for a healthy OA envelope has been a key area of focus for the budget meetings we had with all government and ministry officials, more so given its role as a key enabler of capital redevelopment of our B and C homes. Be assured that the association will continue to advocate about the importance of OA funding at every opportunity,” reads the release.

“The association continues to advocate for its Action Plan for Seniors with government, the media, stakeholders, and the public throughout the year. In 2015, the association earned more media on advocacy than ever before through a highly successful provincial tour. In addition, we continue to advocate with government and all Ontario MPPs about the importance of investment in long-term care,” continued the OLTCA. “While the budget sets the allocations for spending for the year, there are several avenues by which funding can be announced during the year. For this reason, we’re continuing our advocacy work this spring and need your continued support. We need to keep the momentum going year-round.”

In its letter writing Better Senior’s Care campaign, it notes that residents are more frail, more complex and require more care and staff time. “Significant changes in resident profiles in the last five years are now coming into LTC at a later stage of life, with more complex health issues and are more physically frail. This leads to residents requiring more care, and staff time.”

A list of priorities has been given by the OLTCA, including making long-term care homes safer and more modern; building capacity for better dementia care; and the important role of smaller homes in the health care continuum. For instance, funding for care hasn’t kept pace with increasing needs of residents; staffing solutions that will lead to better seniors care, including increasing staffing levels.

“Our home won a first place prize in our bed category last year and our resident council won $500 that they put towards the Angel Bus for having the most submissions sent to our local MPP,” said Ms. Taylor.

To visit the OLTCA’s action plan for Better Seniors Care go online at www.BetterSeniorsCare.ca  Participants can submit a letter to their MPP (directly through the  website), encouraging them to make long-term care a priority. “The more people we can get to contact their MPP, the more likely we can make change happen to provide better seniors care.”