Hospital Cuts and Home Care

A while back I noted that the Health Minister Deb Matthews suggested the hosptial cuts were ok, because there was so much more care in the community.  Here's some recent comments from the Toronto Star on this issue:

But the community sector has not been adequately funded to manage higher demand, said Margaret Mottershead, chief executive of the Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres.

And demand is expected to rise significantly as the health system tries to get a handle on what's known as the "ALC problem."

ALC refers to an alternative level of care, required by 5,000 patients in Ontario, mostly frail, elderly people who are in hospital even though they don't need to be.

They are waiting to be sent back to their homes with visiting home-care support, into long-term care homes or into assisted living environments, such as a seniors' apartment complex with nearby personal support workers.

Mottershead says community care access centres have introduced many programs in the last few years to ease pressure on hospitals and help deal with the ALC problem, but have not been fully funded for them.

As a result, the centres are forced to ration scarce resources and can't provide all the services required.

"A number of CCACs are having to ... reduce some of those hours for personal support for some people," she said.

"They will say, 'If we have to cut back because we have to balance the budget, then Mrs. Jones who would normally get four hours will now get two hours.'

"But they don't put anybody at risk as a result of that," she added. "We make sure the people who have the highest priority needs get the supports."

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