The Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA) is the voice of home and community support services in Ontario – services for people who need help to function independently because of a disability, illness or limitation due to aging.
The only provincial association of its kind in Canada, OCSA works with the Federal and Ontario governments to raise critical funding and policy issues. The goal is to ensure people of all ages and conditions have access to an integrated range of home and community supports in order to stay healthy in their own homes and connected to their communities.
Rooted in a long tradition of responding to community need and playing an essential part in the health care system in Ontario for 30 years, OCSA’s not-for-profit member agencies serve over 700,000 clients a year across Ontario, with the primary focus on:
Frail elderly persons
Persons with disabilities
People who are chronically ill
Caregivers for all of the above
Services are provided by professional staff who are committed to friendly, caring and personalized services. Trained volunteers also contribute to many of the services provided. Eligibility requirements and whether there is a cost for service will vary depending on the service. This can be discussed with the local community support service agency or the local Community Care Access Centre.
THE COMMUNITY SUPPORT SERVICES AVAILABLE IN MANY ONTARIO COMMUNITIES
Here’s a sample of the Home and Community Support Services you can find in your community: Personal support services, Attendant services for persons with disabilities, Meals on Wheels or congregate dining, Transportation to medical appointments or recreational activities, Supportive housing programs, Security checks and reassurance, Adult/Alzheimer Day Programs, Respite Care, Friendly visiting and Intergenerational programs
These services help people with the day-to-day activities of daily living; promote health and well-being, and prevent personal or family breakdown by providing caregiver respite.
HOME AND COMMUNITY SUPPORTS SAVE THE ENTIRE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM AND TAXPAYERS MONEY
Evidence shows that community health care services such as personal care, transportation, respite, home maintenance and meal programs can reduce the demand for long-term care beds and acute hospital services.
Recent research by the University of Toronto has shown that almost half of the people who are on wait lists for long-term care facility placement only need assistance with instrumental activities of living (IADL). This means they only need help with chores such as vacuuming, yard maintenance, snow removal, transportation and bathing. These services can be effectively provided at home and for much less cost than in an institutional setting.
Well coordinated, integrated care to help people in their homes results in the following positive client and health system outcomes:
In-patient hospital episodes decrease by 67%
In-patient days decrease by 70%
Emergency room visits decrease by 63%, and
Ambulatory services decrease by 25%.
People want to stay at home. It’s the right thing for them. It’s the right thing for the health care system and the taxpayers. Governments from across Canada must dramatically increase home and community support services in their jurisdictions if the health system is to be sustainable. A National Home Care Program is needed now.