The Ontario government’s ‘Health System Stability and Recovery’ plan has the attention of health officials in Kingston, Ont., as the city continues to deal with challenges in the long-term care sector.
“It covers a lot of ground and addresses a number of areas where we do have challenges and have had challenges going back well, well before the pandemic,” says Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) CEO and president Dr. David Pichora.
At the Kingston Seniors Association (KSA), staying out of hospital or a long-term care facility is part of the goal of healthy living, but the pressure of those who can’t has the province looking for a relief valve.
“Getting out and meeting other people and you know, making new friends,” says KSA member Thea Young.
The plan looks to get seniors out of hospitals, who don’t need to be there, and into long-term care facilities with open beds, while waiting for their preferred long-term care space to open up.
“There’s a lot of nuance in getting this right,” says Pichora. “So that we’re using our beds most efficiently and also trying to provide compassionate care.”
Dr. Vince DePaul is with the Queen’s University School of Rehabilitation, and says he isn’t sure how effective the plan will be.
“I think it could help with a small amount, but it won’t solve the bigger problem,” DePaul says.
He says greater investments in community care, like the Oasis Project at the Bowling Green apartments in Kingston, could play a role.
Oasis brings services like nutrition, social and physical programs to seniors’ fitness where they live.
“The numbers are about, I think, almost $200 a day for somebody in long-term care, and something like $10 a day for Oasis,” says DePaul.
A similar model is delivered by the Kingston Senior’s Association at its locations in the city.
Members say whether it’s socializing or physical activity, they believe it plays a role in keeping them in their homes.
“My place is big enough that if I have to stay home with help it’s big enough for me to do that, and this is why I’m here,” says KSA member Gail Scott. “But I’m not going to do that because I am going to exercise.”