TORONTO, July 5, 2004 – The government’s announcement today of $1.3 billion for home care this year is welcome news, especially for the thousands of Ontarians in need of post-acute care, end-of-life care, and chronic home health care.
“We wholeheartedly applaud Premier McGuinty and Minister Smitherman for their wise investment in home health care and their clear commitment to closing the Romanow gap,” said Joan Lesmond, president of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO). “Our submissions and responses to Romanow’s Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada called for the expansion of public funding to home health care, and we are delighted that Ontario is taking this laudable step forward.”
“The research supports this, the public needs this, and health-care providers and communities across Ontario have been asking for this. And now, the government’s strong support for home health care will begin to fill the access gaps across the province,” said RNAO executive director Doris Grinspun.
Minister Smitherman announced the government’s four-year commitment to enhancing home care services so that 95,700 more Ontarians will receive home health care and 6,000 more Ontarians will receive end-of-life care in their own homes by 2007/08.
RNAO is pleased that today’s announcement will also support up to 1,800 new full-time nursing positions in home care by 2007/2008 and that government is responding swiftly to recommendations to bolster the nursing profession. “The Liberal Party’s election platform gave nurses renewed hope with its explicit promise to hire 8,000 new nurses and bring the proportion of RNs working full-time to 70 per cent,” said Lesmond. “And today’s announcement is another positive signal that government is committed to meeting these targets.”
Increased access to registered nurses is a surefire way to ensure the success of these expanded home care services. “With the right supports in place, people requiring chronic home care can continue to live full and meaningful lives in their communities and people in need of end-of-life care can choose to do so in the comfort of their own home,” said Grinspun.
RNAO will continue to work with government, other health-care providers and the public to ensure increased and timely access to home health care. “We commend government for expanding the range of home care services available to Ontarians, and we urge the government of insist that not-for-profit agencies have first right of refusal for delivery of these services,” said Grinspun.
The Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional association representing registered nurses wherever they practise in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice, increased nurses’ contribution to shaping the health-care system, and influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve.