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Ontario homes:1 hour less care per elder per day

The death of a resident at a Toronto long-term care facility, allegedly at the hands of another resident, has raised concerns about inadequate staffing levels in Ontario.

Recent Statistics Canada data indicates that Ontario "homes for the aged" fall well short of staffing for homes for the aged in other provinces.  The total hours of staffing per resident  in Ontario homes for the aged are significantly less than the Canada-wide average.  

For Ontario the average is at 4.0 paid hours per resident per day while the Canada-wide average (including Ontario) is 4.9 hours.   That is almost one hour more paid staffing time per resident per day -- or 22.5 % more.  If Ontario were excluded from the Canada-wide data, the gap would be even larger.  

Three caveats.   The data refers to paid hours, not worked hours.  This overestimates the actual amount of care as paid hours includes vacations, holidays, sick leave, etc.   Second, the Stats Canada data reports all staffing hours, including management, administration, housekeeping, dietary and maintenance -- not just nursing and personal care. In Ontario, the debate over staffing has focused on the demand for 3.5 hours of nursing and personal care per resident per day.  

Finally, the category “home for the aged” is as defined by Stats Canada to allow cross-Canada comparisons; it is not as the term is defined by Ontario.   Stats Can says “Homes for the aged includes Nursing homes, homes for the aged and other facilities providing services and care for the aged. Not included are homes for senior citizens or lodges where no care is provided.” 

While this category appears to include somewhat more beds (about 14% more) than normally included in Ontario long-term care, it is probably still somewhat useful as it allows comparisons of care levels for facilities providing similar functions in different provinces.

Expenditure per resident per day for these "homes for the aged" was $155.30 in Ontario.  This is slightly higher than the Ontario long-term care funding level in 2012 of $152.94 per resident per day.

Canada-wide, Stats Can indicates that homes for the aged funding is $183.60, or $28.30 more than Ontario.  That would be enough to pay for another 0.9 hours of care.  Notably, in Ontario, the province also provides a slightly smaller percentage of the total funding compared to the Canada-wide average: 85% versus 88% Canada-wide.

Photo: Ulrichkarljoho

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