Provinces hopes $270 million for staffing will increase care in LTC

A PSW helps a resident at Lambton Meadowview Villa at a window in mid-March, 2020. The province is increasing funding for the homes to hire more PSWs, RPNs and RNs immediately.

The province is sending $270 million to long term care homes to hire more personal support workers, registered practical nurses and registered nurses immediately.

Minister of Long Term Care Rod Phillips made the announcement today saying the money is to help improve the level of care for seniors in homes. Right now, on average, residents get two hours and 45 minutes of direct care daily. The funding, Phillips says, will increase that to at least three hours per resident, per day, by March.

“This year’s increase means $1.2 million more for typical home” with 160 residents, he told reporters.

By 2023, Phillips says that same size home will have six more RNs, 12 more RPNs and 25 more PSWs with the funding. “That will mean an extra bath and more attention at meals.”

In all, about 4,000 new employees are expected to be hired in Ontario’s long term care homes by March.

While the money is becoming available, critics wonder if homes will be able to find people to fill the roles.

Homes in Lambton county for example are continuously advertising to hire new PSWs and officials say there is a lack of qualified staff.

Phillips says because of previous program to train new PSWs, 11,000 care workers are expected to graduate by December; and another 6,000 in January.

The minister acknowledges there will be no guarantee the workers will go to long term care, but he hopes with the funding made available, working conditions will improve, making long term care homes more attractive places to work.

Phillips added he plans to introduce new legislation for long term care homes in the fall; it’s widely expected that along with making four hours of care per day per resident law, the bill will improve the long term care home inspection system which currently does not have any consequences for long term care homes found guilty of breaking the rules.