The provincial government today released a 10-year strategy aimed at transforming the delivery of long-term care in Newfoundland and Labrador.
“Over the next five years we will significantly increase our total annual investments up to $760 million, as a result of the goals and actions of our strategy which will strengthen the continuum of health services for all people of our province,” said Susan Sullivan, Minister of Health and Community Services and Minister Responsible for Aging and Seniors.
“This strategy is setting a course to guide our province as we address our changing communities, shifting demographics and increasing prevalence of chronic disease.
“The strategy provides a series of goals and actions that, taken together, will lead to significant improvements in long-term care and community support services.”
According to a news release, the strategy is focused on helping people requiring long-term care and community support services achieve optimal independence and quality of life in their homes and communities. This will be realized by addressing health and social needs; optimizing rights and participation in decision-making; encouraging choice, independence and mobility; and, demonstrating standards of quality in all aspects of service.
Sullivan also announced two new initiatives as part of Close to Home that will see a pilot project for personal care homes established and the development of an age-friendly transportation grants program.
Personal care homes in Newfoundland and Labrador are an integral component of the residential care system. Approximately $1.5 million will be allocated for an Enhanced Care in Personal Care Homes Pilot Project, which will take place over an 18-month period.
This pilot will allow residents to receive enhanced residential services as close to home as possible. Currently, the personal care home sector is licensed to provide care and accommodation to individuals who require low-level residential care and can function independently with some degree of assistance. This pilot will allow admission of up to eight residents requiring a higher level of care in three personal care homes. These homes will be selected through Request for Proposals.
“The personal care home industry looks forward to partnering with the Provincial Government on this new initiative,” said Beverly Russell, President of the Quality Living Alliance for Seniors Association and owner of Cambridge Estates and Calling Wood Downs Seniors Complex. “This pilot will provide additional opportunities for clients to continue living in their communities and close to their families by building additional bed capacity within the long-term care system.”
Physicians, regional health authorities and health care providers will play an integral role in the implementation and delivery of the goals and actions outlined in the long-term care and community support services strategy.
Dr. Tony Gabriel, President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Medical Association, said the association is pleased with the plan.
“The number of seniors is increasing in the province and with that comes a growing need for appropriate levels of care to better meet their complex needs.”