Skip to main content

Ontario Health Action Plan slows homecare growth

The Ontario Liberal government's "Action Plan for Health Care" sought to divert attention from the cuts to hospitals by claiming that it is moving patients from hospital by focusing on building homecare.

While many in the media bought this, more careful observers might have noticed that this has been pretty much the same line from government for many years, if not decades. The result has been the elimination of 30,000 hospital beds, backed up Emergency Rooms, ambulance off-load delays,repeated hospital crisis designations, and very high bed occupancy. Oh yeah -- and 10,000 people on homecare waiting lists.

Rolling out the Health Action Plan, the government recently (and loudly) announced 3 million hours of homecare personal support over three years.  (Now it's not very clear if they mean 3 million hours over three years, or building to 3 million hours in the third year, but let's assume the best and say they mean the latter.)

Such an increase sounds good -- until you consider that it is actually a reduction from the most recent report on homecare services.  Over the two years ending 2009/10, personal support hours increased by 3.3 million hours.  In other words, personal support hours were increased more rapidly over a shorter period of time.  

So, despite the rhetoric, we are actually seeing a marked slow down in the growth of this aspect of homecare. And this is happening while the government has squeezed hospital funding much more sharply.

One last thing: the government's announcement focuses on only one aspect of home care (personal support).  The other parts of home care (nursing visits, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, speech language therapy) however have been squeezed for some years (even as personal support increased). Occupational therapy visits fell, for example, by 230,000 in two years while physiotherapy visits declined by 89,000 visits.   

So far, there is no media announcement from government stating they are going to stop that trend, although the Action Plan did state they would  be expanding access  "to house calls from health care professionals, like doctors, nurses and occupational therapists."
 .


Apr 1 to Mar 312007/082008/092009/10
Individuals Served:572,950586,423603,535
Client Demographic: Age 65+53%54%54%
Age 19-6430%29%30%
Age 0-1817%16%16%
Clients Placed in Long-Term Care Homes:35,28939,65240,759
Full-Time Employees (approx.):5,0725,3705,603
Services
Personal Support/Homemaking Hours:17,063,41518,777,54920,358,189
Nursing Visits:5,892,7075,981,7625,962,097
Shift Nursing Hours:1,698,8871,480,0781,735,137
Occupational Therapy Visits:736,134556,147506,154
Physiotherapy Visits:572,725519,168483,163
Speech-Language Therapy Visits:461,484274,068251,740
Dietician Services Visits:59,69058,58452,877
Social Work Visits:79,27870,202


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Public sector employment in Ontario is far below the rest of Canada

The suggestion that Ontario has a deficit because its public sector is too large does not bear scrutiny. Consider the following. 

Public sector employment has fallen in the last three quarters in Ontario.  Since 2011, public sector employment has been pretty flat, with employment up less than 4 tenths of one percent in the first half of 2015 compared with the first half of 2011.


This contrasts with public sector employment outside of Ontario which has gone up pretty consistently and is now 4.7% higher than it was in the first half of 2011.



Private sector employment has also gone up consistently over that period. In Ontario, it has increased 4.3% since the first half of 2011, while in Canada as a whole it has increased 4.9%.







As a result, public sector employment in Ontario is now shrinking as a percentage of the private sector workforce.  In contrast, in the rest of Canada, it is increasing. Moreover, public sector employment is muchhigher in the rest of Canada than in Ontario.  Indeed as…

The long series of failures of private clinics in Ontario

For many years, OCHU/CUPE has been concerned the Ontario government would transfer public hospital surgeries, procedures and diagnostic tests to private clinics. CUPE began campaigning in earnest against this possibility in the spring of 2007 with a tour of the province by former British Health Secretary, Frank Dobson, who talked about the disastrous British experience with private surgical clinics.

The door opened years ago with the introduction of fee-for-service hospital funding (sometimes called Quality Based Funding). Then in the fall of 2013 the government announced regulatory changes to facilitate this privatization. The government announced Request for Proposals for the summer of 2014 to expand the role of "Independent Health Facilities" (IHFs). 

With mass campaigns to stop the private clinic expansion by the Ontario Health Coalition the process slowed.  

But it seems the provincial Liberal government continues to push the idea.  Following a recent second OCHU tour wi…

Hospital worker sick leave: too much or too little?

Ontario hospital workers are muchless absent due to illness or disability than hospital workers Canada-wide.  In 2014, Ontario hospital workers were absent 10.2 days due to illness or disability, 2.9 days less than the Canada wide average – i.e. 22% less.  In fact, Ontario hospital workers have had consistently fewer sick days for years.

This is also true if absences due to family or personal responsibilities are included.
Statistics Canada data for the last fifteen years for Canada and Ontario are reported in the chart below, showing Ontario hospital workers are consistently off work less.
Assuming, Ontario accounts for about 38% of the Canada-wide hospital workforce, these figures suggest that the days lost due to illness of injury in Canada excluding Ontario are about 13.6 days per year ([13.6 x 0.68] + [10.2 x 0.38] = 13.1).

In other words, hospital workers in the rest of Canada are absent from work due to illness or disability 1/3 more than Ontario hospital workers. 

In fact, Canad…