New Ontario Physiotherapy and Excercise/Fall Prevention for Seniors Policy – Frequently Asked Questions

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  1.      FOR RESIDENTS IN LONG-TERM CARE

Will residents in Long-Term Care Homes experience any changes to physiotherapy services?

Improvements are coming to how residents receive physiotherapy services in Long-Term Care Homes.

Long-Term Care residents who have an assessed need for physiotherapy as prescribed by a regulated health professional will continue to receive physiotherapy in their Long-Term Care Home.

Some Long-Term Care residents may experience a change in who provides their physiotherapy service. For example, a Long Term Care Home may choose to hire a dedicated physiotherapist to work in the home.

Starting in August 2013, Long-Term Care Homes will receive direct funding to provide and make all the arrangements for residents to receive physiotherapy in their Long-Term Care Home.

These services will continue to be publicly funded, at no cost to the resident.

Are the exercise classes that Long-Term Care Home residents receive considered physiotherapy services? And are they changing?

Exercise classes and physiotherapy are different services and address different needs.

Physiotherapy is a health profession that is regulated by the government.  It involves the assessment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and cardio respiratory systems and the diagnosis and treatment of physical dysfunction, injury or pain from a physiotherapist registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.   Physiotherapy helps people to recover from an injury or surgery or other conditions.

A regulated health professional such as a doctor, a nurse, or a physiotherapist assesses a resident’s need for physiotherapy, and then this would be prescribed in resident’s care plan.  Physiotherapy will be delivered, or supervised, by a licensed physiotherapist based on their resident’s care plan and right in their Long Term Care Home.

The exercise and falls prevention classes that residents also enjoy in their Long-Term Care Homes are different than physiotherapy. Seniors exercise classes focus on improving functional performance through strength and balance to prevent frailty, injury and falls.  Classes may be led by fitness instructors, trained peer facilitators or support workers. They are not required to be led by a physiotherapist.

Residents will also continue to have access to exercise and falls prevention classes. Exercise and falls prevention classes help people to keep healthy, safe, and active. Exercise classes can be delivered by a fitness trainer, kinesiologist, or a trained assistant and can be delivered in group settings.

Will all Long-Term Care Home residents continue to receive physiotherapy?

A resident will receive physiotherapy if he or she has been assessed to need physiotherapy and it is within their plan of care as prescribed by their regulated health professional.  The frequency and duration of that physiotherapy will be determined by the licensed physiotherapist who will conduct the assessment and determine a treatment plan.

In addition, all residents of Long-Term Care Homes will continue to have access to exercise classes in their home.

Why are you making changes to Long-Term Care Home residents’ care?

Ontario is ensuring residents in Long-Term Care Homes receive the care that best suits their individual physiotherapy care needs.

Access to appropriate physiotherapy for residents who need it most will be improved. Long-Term Care Homes will receive funding directly which will enable them to deliver resident-specific physiotherapy services based on residents’ plan of care.

All residents in Long-Term Care Homes will continue to have access to exercise classes in their home.

What does a Long-Term Care resident have to do to qualify for physiotherapy?

Every resident in a Long-Term Care Home has a plan of care based on their assessed need.  If the regulated health professional determines that the resident has a need for physiotherapy, the resident will then be assessed by a registered physiotherapist who will determine the resident’s treatment plan and provide or supervise the physiotherapy care.

Will all Long-Term Care Home residents who received physiotherapy in the past continue to qualify for it?

Residents will receive specific physiotherapy based on their assessed need and according to their plan of care.

Will Long-Term Care Homes be providing exercise classes for residents who don’t have a specific physiotherapy need?

Yes, all residents in Long-Term Care Homes will continue to have access to exercise classes in their long term care home.

What kind of new physiotherapy services for Long-Term Care residents receive?

Residents in Long-Term Care Homes will receive resident-specific, one-on-one, physiotherapy if they are assessed to need physiotherapy and it is within their plan of care.  The frequency and length of that physiotherapy will be determined by the licensed physiotherapist who will conduct the assessment and devise a treatment plan.

 Will these new one-on-one physiotherapy services mean I won’t be exercising with a group like I used to?

Group exercise classes will continue for residents in Long-Term Care Homes.  In addition to these group activities, Long-Term Care residents with an assessed need for physiotherapy, will also receive individual physiotherapy treatment specific to their needs and according to their individual plan of care.

For more information, please call the Seniors’ INFOline:1-888-910-1999 or TTY: 1-800-387-5559

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  1. 2.     FOR SENIORS LIVING IN THEIR HOMES (e.g., house, apartment, retirement home)

 

What changes are being made to publicly funded physiotherapy services in Ontario?

The Ontario government will provide seniors and other eligible patients with better access to the physiotherapy services they need.

If a senior needs physiotherapy in his or her home, the service will continue to be arranged as usual by contacting the local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC). The local CCAC can be found by visiting www.310CCAC.ca, or calling 310-CCAC (2222). CCACs are receiving increased funding to meet the physiotherapy needs of more Ontarians. The ministry is providing additional funding to improve access and decrease wait times.

If seniors are receiving physiotherapy to help recover from an injury or surgery, they will continue to receive it either at a clinic or in their home just as they do now.

If a doctor or a nurse practitioner feels physiotherapy in a clinic is needed, they can refer patients to the closest clinic available.  Alternatively, patients can contact the local CCAC for assistance. Your local CCAC will be able to give you a list of where these clinic-based services are available.  Your family doctor, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the College of Physiotherapists, or the Ontario Physiotherapy Association may also be able to help you find services.

The government is investing in community physiotherapy clinics to expand access to these services in communities across Ontario.

Do these improvements mean seniors will have to pay out of pocket for services?

If seniors need physiotherapy in their home, the service will be arranged and provided at no charge, by contacting the local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) which can be found by visiting www.310CCAC.ca, or calling 310-CCAC (2222). CCACs are receiving increased funding to meet the needs of more Ontarians.

Public funding for medically necessary physiotherapy will continue for all seniors. In fact, access to publicly funded physiotherapy will be expanded throughout the province.

Exercise and falls prevention classes will also continue to be publicly funded at no cost to seniors. Publicly funded exercise and falls prevention classes will be expanded across the province to help keep seniors healthier, active and living in their own home longer; however, the location or person providing the service may change.

Across Ontario, approximately 130,000 seniors will be able to access exercise and falls prevention classes.

 How do I access these services?

If seniors need physiotherapy in their home, the service will be arranged by contacting the local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) which can be found by visiting www.310CCAC.ca, or calling 310-CCAC (2222). CCACs are receiving increased funding to meet the needs of 60,000 more Ontarians and to reduce wait times.

If a doctor feels physiotherapy in a clinic is needed, the closest clinic can be found by contacting the local CCAC for assistance. Your local CCAC will be able to give you a list of where these clinic-based services are available.  Your family doctor, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the College of Physiotherapists, or the Ontario Physiotherapy Association may also be able to help you find services. The government is investing in community physiotherapy clinics to expand access to these services for 90,000 more seniors in communities across Ontario.

Exercise and falls prevention classes will be offered in retirement homes, community centres, and other community locations. After August 1, 2013, you can find a class near you by calling the Seniors’ INFOline 1-888-910-1999 or TTY: 1-800-387-5559.

Why is Ontario making changes to publicly funded physiotherapy services?

Ontario is increasing access to physiotherapy services for seniors in the community and in patient’s homes, including retirement homes.

The government will work with current providers to preserve and expand access to physiotherapy services in the community setting.

Will seniors see any changes to their group exercise classes?

Exercise and falls prevention classes for seniors living at home (including retirement homes) will be expanded across the province and will be available in more communities across the province to help seniors stay healthy, active and living in their own home longer.

Exercise and falls prevention classes will continue to be publicly funded, at no cost to seniors. While every effort will be made to ensure that current locations continue to offer exercise classes, the person providing the service may change.

The government will work to expand the number of exercise and falls prevention classes and geographic availability for these additional services.

Funding will be provided for falls prevention and exercise classes to approximately 130,000 seniors across the province.

If a senior has an injury and cannot get to a clinic, can the senior still receive physiotherapy services?

If a senior needs physiotherapy in their home, the service will be arranged by contacting the local Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) which can be found by visiting www.310CCAC.ca, or calling 310-CCAC (2222). CCACs are receiving increased funding to meet the physiotherapy needs of more Ontarians.

Public funding for medically necessary physiotherapy will continue for all seniors. In fact, access to publicly funded physiotherapy will be more even throughout the province.

What’s the difference between physiotherapy services and seniors exercise classes?

Physiotherapy is a health profession that is regulated by the government.  It involves the assessment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and cardio respiratory systems and the diagnosis and treatment of physical dysfunction, injury or pain from a physiotherapist registered with the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.

Seniors exercise classes focus on improving functional performance through strength and balance to prevent frailty, injury and falls.  Classes may be led by fitness instructors, trained peer facilitators or support workers. They are not required to be led by a physiotherapist.

Who will be eligible for publicly funded physiotherapy services provided in a clinic setting?

Eligibility for publicly funded physiotherapy is not changing.  Patients may be eligible for publicly funded clinic-based physiotherapy if they have a physician or nurse practitioner referral and are:

  • seniors aged 65 and older
  • 19 years of age and under
  • any age and discharged from hospital after an overnight stay for a condition requiring physiotherapy
  • recipients of Ontario Works or the Ontario Disability Support Program

For more information about finding the nearest Community Care Access Centre, please visitwww.310CCAC.ca, or call 310-CCAC (2222) —the number does not require an area code and is toll free.

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