As provincial populations skew older, the need for more specialized and complex long-term care services will most likely continue to grow.
In recognition of that trend, the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (MOHLTC) has increased funding to the three Woodingford Lodge locations.
The one-time funding amount totals $19,400 for the Tilsonburg and Ingersoll locations and $37,600 for the Woodstock location.
“It’s extra funding and it will help the more specialized health-care needs of the residents,” said Corrie Fransen, corporate manager/administrator of Woodingford Lodge. “This is specialized funding that is allocated for specific areas.”
A resident safety task force created by the MOHLTC identified the need for a commitment to better care for residents of long-term facilities. The funding increase is the result of the task force’s recommendations.
“It’s wonderful, welcome news for us, to be able to provide extra (care) for our residents that is over and above (the basic care),” Fransen said.
The funding must be utilized by the end of March 2013 and any unused funds will be recovered by the MOHLTC. The funding is earmarked for two purposes, both of which are for long-term care residents who require complex assistance.
Over half of the funding is for expenditures that will enhance resident safety, reduce injuries due to falls, or assist with the prevention of falls, Fransen explained. The rest of the funding is for the training and development of Woodingford Lodge staff to meet the needs of those residents requiring specialized care.
“We’re looking at resident lifts, pressure-reducing surfaces (including mattresses), bariatric beds . . . for residents who are obese, wheelchairs, commodes, and wound care. That’s what we’re looking at,” she said. “And we’re going to provide staff with the training to deal with our changing population.”
Fransen believes that the catalyst for more residents needing specialized care is due to more seniors being able to stay at home longer, only moving into a long-term care facility when dictated by complex health needs.
“We are getting more (complex care) residents because people are able to stay in the (their) home longer with supports there, which is wonderful, but when they come to us, they have more complex needs,” she said. “And residents are getting older, so they need more specialized care than they did 10 years ago.”
The current plan is to have the staff training sessions on site at Woodingford Lodge in Woodstock to help other long-term care facilities in the county take part as well.
“We can take a leadership role in the community, so we would have our staff (train), but also open it up to the community so other homes in the area could send their staff to have the training here at Woodingford Lodge,” Fransen said. “We could possibly train more of our staff if it is on site.”