The Ontario Government announced in April that it will make changes to the way rehabilitation services are provided in the community setting and in long-term care residence. The changes, beginning August 1, 2014, promise more one-on-one physiotherapy, group exercise classes and falls prevention services in long-term care homes and in communities across Ontario.
Since the announcement, CARP has been receiving calls and emails from members concerned that the impending changes will in fact cut funding for rehabilitation services and reduce the amount of rehabilitation coverage and service that seniors will receive in the community and in LTC homes.
CARP asked the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to clarify the effect the changes will have on seniors. Minister Deb Matthews penned a letter to CARP members, detailing the changes and dispelling fears that the changes will reduce access, coverage, or cut funding for the variety of rehabilitation services the provinces covers for seniors:
- Individuals who currently need physiotherapy, exercise, and falls prevention programs in retirement homes, long-term care homes and in the community will continue to have access to those services.
- Changes will expand the delivery of physiotherapy and exercise classes to over 200,000 more Ontarians in the community, retirement homes and long-term care homes.
- All seniors living in retirement homes with assessed need for physiotherapy will have access to it. Seniors who need in-home physiotherapy will be assessed in consultation with current physiotherapy providers to determine treatment requirements and provide service going forward. Clinic-based physiotherapy service will be available in more communities across Ontario for 90,000 more Ontarians (150,000 total).
- The ministry will also offer exercise and falls prevention classes to 68,000 more seniors (130,000 total) in community settings like retirement homes and will work to ensure that exercise classes continue to be offered in locations where they are currently available.
- In long-term care homes, all residents will continue to have access to exercise classes, and appropriate, individualized physiotherapy will be available for all residents who need it. Each long-term care home will receive funding for physiotherapy directly. All residents who need physiotherapy will be assessed by a registered physiotherapist, who will determine a treatment plan that includes the frequency and duration of physiotherapy based on their individual needs as part of their plan of care.
For more information, visit the Ontario Government website dedicated to the rehabilitation changes.
May 17, 2013