Increased government funding welcome news, says Lodge administrator

GORE BAY—The administrator of the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay is very pleased with a funding announcement made last week by the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care that will benefit the Lodge and other long term care nursing homes in the province.

“We are pleased with Minister Hoskins’ announcement of increased government funding for behavioural supports Ontario as well as nursing and personal care for those living in long-term care,” said Lee Turley, administrator/staff educator at the Manitoulin Lodge Nursing Home in Gore Bay.

Dr. Eric Hoskins,  minister of health and long-term care, announced last week a $10 million funding increase to assist seniors with challenging and complex behaviours associated with dementia and other mental health issues.

“Seniors today are living longer and are enjoying better health than ever before, and we want to help them live where they want to be and that’s in their homes for as long as possible,” Minister Hoskins said in his announcement August 18. “But we also  know there are challenges that come with aging that sometimes prevent that from happening. So it’s important that our system helps seniors grow old with dignity, no matter where they call home. To help us do that, we have to make the right investments, which is why I’m pleased to announced today that our government is increasing funding to Behavioural Supports Ontario by an additional $10 million.”

Mr. Turley explained, “our staff commendably manages to provide a standard of quality care every day, and the increase (in the share of funding announced last week) will help to ensure that level of care is sustained for seniors currently living at Manitoulin Lodge as well as those we will be asked to care for tomorrow.”

“Compared to five years ago, the residents that are coming to our home have increased needs and require more personal support for daily tasks,” continued Mr. Turley. “Most are living with some form of dementia. Specialized resources and increased staff are, a great step  towards addressing our residents complex care needs. However, we can still do more to ensure that specialized resources are helping the most frail by continuing to advocate for our seniors comfort and wellness in long-term care.”

Launched in 2011, the Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) initiative was created to enhance health care services for older adults living both at home and in long-term care residences.

Through the BSO program, specialized teams improve the quality of life for people with chronic mental health conditions and their caregivers by identifying triggers that can lead to agitation or aggressive behaviours before they start.

The $10 million BSO funding boost will allow facilities to hire and train staff on how to recognize certain behaviours-such as aggression or wandering- amongst their residents with dementia, Minister Hoskins said, noting that BSO methods have helped cut down the use of anti-psychotic drugs amongst such residents, as well as reduced the incidence of injury to their caregivers.

“Dementia is a cruel condition, robbing individuals of the things that make them who they are. It takes away their memories and their experiences and their ability to understand and communicate with the people that love and care for them,” said Dr. Hoskins.

Dr. Hoskins also announced that Ontario is also increasing funding for residents of long-term care homes by up to $60 million to better support resident care needs this year. That investment is estimated to result in a two percent increase for nursing and personal care allocations, and for program and support services, including physiotherapy and convalescent care.