TORONTO — The Ontario government is investing $82.5 million to expand the existing Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program to an additional 22 communities, making it available to all eligible seniors across Ontario. This program, which is fully funded by the provincial government, provides additional care for seniors in the comfort of their own homes before admission into long-term care. The program was piloted across five communities in October 2020 and is currently active in 33 communities. With this expansion, the program will be available to all eligible seniors across Ontario.
“Our government is fixing Ontario’s long-term care system and improving the care seniors receive is a key part of our plan,” said Minister Phillips. “The expansion of the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program into more communities means we can help more seniors across the province get the extra care they need in the safety and comfort of their own homes, before their admission to a long-term care home.”
The Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program is one piece of the province’s larger strategy to address waitlists in the sector. The Ontario government is also making a historic $2.68 billion in total development investments for long-term care. There are over 20,000 new and 15,000 upgraded beds across 220 projects currently in development.
Minister Phillips was joined by Toronto Mayor, John Tory, for the announcement as Toronto is one of the 33 communities where the program is currently offered. The Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program has provided home visits and services to thousands of seniors during the pandemic.
“Toronto has been a proud recipient of funding towards the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care program and within less than a year we have seen the impact that funding has had on protecting vulnerable seniors in our city,” said Mayor Tory. “Through this funding we have been able to provide care to seniors waiting for a long-term care bed and better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing vaccines for homebound residents. This has been critical in our response to the pandemic and our work to protect all residents from the virus. I want to thank the provincial government for providing funding to Toronto, and in seeing the value of this program has now expanded it to other parts of the province.”
“Toronto Paramedic Services is grateful to the Ontario government and the City of Toronto for their support of the Community Paramedicine for Long-Term Care initiative,” said Paul Raftis, Chief of Toronto Paramedic Services. “Today’s announcement by Minister Phillips allows us to build on recent successes and supports the expansion of the vital support that our Community Paramedics provide to help Toronto’s most vulnerable remain safe in their homes.”
The Community Paramedicine program is operated in partnership with municipalities, district social services administration boards and Indigenous communities, and it works alongside primary care and home and community care to provide the following services to eligible seniors:
- Access to health services 24-7, through in-home and remote methods, such as online supports;
- Non-emergency home visits and in-home testing procedures;
- Ongoing monitoring of vital signs to prevent escalation of chronic medical conditions; and
- Assessments, referrals, diagnostic procedures, and point-of care testing.
Expanding this program complements the government’s commitment to end hallway health care and build a better, connected health care system centred on the needs of patients, families and caregivers. Early feedback from participating communities indicates reduction in rates of hospital admissions and an increased integration with primary care.
The government has a plan to fix long-term care and to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care they need and deserve both now and in the future. The plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors.