Seniors’ Situation Room – Edition 16 by Dawn Ford C.A.R.P. & Child Haven

Seniors’ Situation Room – Edition 16 by Dawn Ford C.A.R.P. & Child Haven

CFN – Canadian Association of Retired Persons (C.A.R.P.), offers many benefits to its members. Founded more than 25 years ago, it is a non-profit non-partisan association for people 45+ of age. Their magazine, Zoomer, describes CARP as promoting and protecting the interests, rights and quality of life as this age group gets older, proposing a New vision of aging. Their association is involved with Advocacy and they lobby all levels of Government and the business community. As a member you can benefit from a large  range of products, discounts, and services which also include insurances, AAA, hotels, cell phones, etc. You can join the association for membership  ( $19.95) or get the Zoomer magazine with the membership ($34.95). I have been a member for years and also get a regular newsletter by e-mail. You may call 1-800-363-9736 or visit  them ONLINE for more info.

Having 55 CARP chapters across Canada, anyone can join a chapter or start one in your area. Please let me know if you are interested in being part of a new local chapter.

In CARP’s latest newsletter the  Health Minister Debbie Mathews, Minister for Health and Long Term has announced millions of dollars  to make Physiotherapy, exercise classes and fall prevention information  more  available for seniors. What does all this mean for seniors? Here is the letter she wrote  to CARP members:

Ministry of Health   Ministère de la Santé and Long-Term Care  et des Soins de longue durée Office of the Minister  Bureau du ministre 10th Floor, Hepburn Block  10e étage, édifice Hepburn 80 Grosvenor Street  80, rue Grosvenor Toronto ON M7A 2C4  Toronto ON M7A 2C4 Tel 416-327-4300   Tél 416-327-4300 Fax 416-326-1571   Téléc 416-326-1571 www.health.gov.on.ca  www.health.gov.on.ca

May 16, 2013

Dear CARP Members,

I am writing you about the improvements our government recently announced to expand access to publicly-funded physiotherapy, exercise, and falls prevention programs in Ontario. I want you to know that I am committed to providing better care and getting better value for our health dollars, which is why our government had to make improvements to the delivery of these services. While this change is necessary, my ministry is working hard to ensure a smooth transition for everyone who currently relies on these services.

Here’s what you need to know about why we decided to change how publicly-funded physiotherapy and exercise are delivered:

Under the old system, only 90 of over 1000 physiotherapy clinics across Ontario could be paid by OHIP on a fee-for-service basis to provide publicly funded physiotherapy. This exclusive arrangement resulted in large geographic inequities in service across Ontario. For example, only two such clinics serve all of northern Ontario and both are located in Sault Ste. Marie. That means that anyone in Northern Ontario needing physiotherapy would have to travel to Sault Ste. Marie to access it, or choose to pay for it themselves. That’ just not equitable access. Under the new model, we are ending the exclusive status of these clinics and will offer services to more seniors in more locations across the province.

Four companies are currently responsible for two-thirds of all physiotherapy OHIP billings, primarily for services offered in long-term care and retirement homes. This is the fastest growing cost in health care. We have observed that one of the primary reasons for these rising  costs is a rise in group exercise classes which are being billed to the government as physiotherapy, even though only a fraction of these services are provided by physiotherapists. We can put an end to this skyrocketing spending and provide care for twice as many seniors in the community by removing the exclusive ability for these companies to profit from nearly unlimited OHIP physiotherapy billings. The companies describe our changes as ‘uts’, when in fact, the government is increasing the annual budget for these services.

The wait list for in-home physiotherapy is too long. Seniors who can’ leave their home to get physiotherapy shouldn’t have to wait. That’ why, under the new model, Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) will offer in-home physiotherapy for 60,000 more seniors and people with mobility issues (150,000 total) to clear current wait lists.

I hope you can see that the need to change was clear. I also appreciate that there are questions about how the new system will work. Here’ what you need to know about the changes that we’e  implementing:

It’a important to know that individuals who currently need physiotherapy, exercise, and falls prevention programs in retirement homes, long-term care homes and in the community will continue to have access to those services. We’e committed to ensuring a smooth transition in the services being provided.

Moreover, our changes will expand the delivery of physiotherapy and exercise classes to over 200,000 more Ontarians in the community, retirement homes and long-term care homes.

All seniors living in retirement homes with assessed need for physiotherapy will have access to it. Seniors who need in-home physiotherapy will be assessed in consultation with current physiotherapy providers to determine treatment requirements and provide service going forward. Clinic-based physiotherapy service will be available in more communities across Ontario for 90,000 more Ontarians (150,000 total). Under our changes, the ministry will also offer exercise and falls prevention classes to 68,000 more seniors (130,000 total) in community settings like retirement homes and we will work to ensure that exercise classes continue to be offered in locations where they are currently available.

In our long-term care homes, all residents will continue to have access to exercise classes, and appropriate, individualized physiotherapy will be available for all residents who need it. Each long-term care home will receive funding for physiotherapy directly. All residents who need physiotherapy will be assessed by a registered physiotherapist, who will determine a treatment plan that includes the frequency and duration of physiotherapy based on their individual needs as part of their plan of care. That’ why our reforms have the support of the Ontario Physiotherapy Association.

I appreciate the hard work of every front-line health care provider who cares for our seniors. But we need this care to be provided in a sustainable manner. The result of our improvements will be better care for more Ontarians and better value for our health care dollars.

These changes may not be welcomed by all clinics, especially those that stand to lose financially. However I remain committed to a smooth transition to a new model that will provide service to more seniors. I hope you will share these facts with people who are concerned.

With your support, I am confident that we can make an enormous difference in the lives of seniors, helping to stay healthy, at home and out of the hospital.

For more information about how Ontario is providing more seniors with access to exercise and physiotherapy, please visit: www.ontario.ca/physiotherapy or call the Seniors’ INFOline at 1-888-910- 1999.

Together, we can make healthy change happen. . Sincerely, Deb Matthews Minister c. Hon. Mario Sergio, Minister Responsible for Seniors

And CARP’s assessment:

The 1. Ontario Government announced in April that it will make changes to the way rehabilitation services are provided in the community setting and in long-term care residence. The changes, beginning August 1, 2014, promise more one-on-one physiotherapy, group exercise classes and falls prevention services in long-term care homes and in communities across Ontario.

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Since the announcement, CARP has been receiving calls and emails from members concerned that the impending changes will in fact cut funding for rehabilitation services and reduce the amount of rehabilitation coverage and service that seniors will receive in the community and in LTC homes. CARP asked the Ministry of Health and Long-term Care to clarify the effect the changes will have on seniors. Minister Deb Matthews penned a letter to CARP members, detailing the changes and dispelling fears that the changes will reduce access, coverage, or cut funding for the variety of rehabilitation services the provinces covers for seniors:   Individuals who currently need physiotherapy, exercise, and falls prevention programs in retirement homes, long-term care homes and in the community will continue to have access to those services.

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Changes will expand the delivery of physiotherapy and exercise classes to over 200,000 more Ontarians in the community, retirement homes and long-term care homes.   All seniors living in retirement homes with assessed need for physiotherapy will have access to it. Seniors who need in-home physiotherapy will be assessed in consultation with current physiotherapy providers to determine treatment requirements and provide service going forward. Clinic-based physiotherapy service will be available in more communities across Ontario for 90,000 more Ontarians (150,000 total).   The ministry will also offer exercise and falls prevention classes to 68,000 more seniors (130,000 total) in community settings like retirement homes and will work to ensure that exercise classes continue to be offered in locations where they are currently available.

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In long-term care homes, all residents will continue to have access to exercise classes, and appropriate, individualized physiotherapy will be available for all residents who need it. Each long-term care home will receive funding for physiotherapy directly. All residents who need physiotherapy will be assessed by a registered physiotherapist, who will determine a treatment plan that includes the frequency and duration of physiotherapy based on their individual needs as part of their plan of care. * * * * I picked up a brochure on Meals -On -Wheels at the Glen Stor Dun Lodge recently to get more info on how the program works.  Meals-On -Wheels is offered through the Outreach Program at the Glen Stor Dun Lodge. It offers an alternative for seniors having problems with meal preparation, cooking or any nutritional problem, and also includes food for people on special diets. I  was amazed at the low cost of $28.25 per week. It includes soup, salad, a main dish of meat, potatoes and vegetables with gravy and also includes a yummy dessert. It is offered 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Volunteers bring it right to your door. Please all 613-933-3384, Ext. 263 or go to www.mealsonwheelscornwall.com for more info.

I met a lady who wishes to remain anonymous who told me she had been a volunteer with Meals-On-Wheels  for about 26 years. She goes every first Monday of the month.  She loves doing it. I was surprised  because I thought that the commitment would have been for more days than that. This makes it more manageable for volunteers to find a day to help this essential program.  The volunteers can use their own cars.. They work in teams of two, one driver and one helper who assists the driver with directions and delivers the meals at each stop. You and a friend can make up a team. Anyone interested in being a volunteer can call the above number.

* * * Having four food allergies is not the most fun but Sharyn at Sharyn’s Pantry has made it easier for me. She carries peanut free almond butter which tastes very good, is a great source of Protein with no cholesterol and for me a great substitute for peanut butter. Sometimes I wander about the store, gazing longingly at the chocolate covered nuts and other goodies  but she says no and directs me to something I could have when it is available.  She takes good care of me and does her best to keep me safe.   I often overhear her giving customers recipes and information which helps them in their quest for healthy eating. Thank you Sharyn for caring about your customers . Kudos * * * The program which was just getting started to recycle hearing aids and glasses with the benefit of bringing new ones to our needy seniors has unfortunately been cancelled…I am hoping only temporarily. As soon as new info becomes available I will let you know.

* * * Child Haven International is always surprising me. Just when I think I have a fair idea of all the organization does, I learn that they do even more.  There are ten Child Haven orphanages/homes located in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. In the latest newsletter, it talks about a women’s health project which Child Haven sponsors for women in remote areas.

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Child Haven also helps educate children not living in their homes but in need of help. Incredible organization. This is a good year to think of how any of us can help them .Bonnie and Fred Cappuccino, co-founders (along with Dr. Nat Shah) are celebrating their Diamond Jubilee, 60 years of wedded bliss. They have planned a Diamond Jubilee Celebration throughout the rest of 2013. The goal is a six-million-dollar Endowment, interest to be used for Child Haven’s Overseas Programs. These lasting legacy funds will ensure continuation of Bonnie and Fred’s untiring work for children for many years to come. An additional goal is $600,000 to finish the last three remaining building programs in India. Then Bonnie and Fred can relax knowing that all ten Child Haven Homes and projects have their own buildings -no more rent payments  or hasty moving scrambles.

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Go to www.childhaven.ca to learn more.  * * * In the latest newsletter from the Harvard Medical School is an article: ” Your dog could be your heart’s best friend.” It is about 12 pages long so I won’t print it here but you can go to http://www.heaalth.harvard.edu/blog/a-dog-could-be-your-hearts– to read the entire article.

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Walking your dog has big benefits. Having a cat or dog as pets can help keep your blood pressure in check. It also suggests that if you can’t have a dog, volunteering to walk the dogs for the SPCA will benefit you and the dog. Sounds like a win win for the pound dog and you.

Here is something to make us all feel good:

Have a good week, Dawn

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(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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