Funding enhanced for senior’s behavioral supports program

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Ontario is enhancing annual funding to the Behavioural Supports Ontario program by $10 million to meet the needs of seniors with challenging and complex behaviours associated with dementia, mental health, substance use and/or other neurological conditions.

The Behavioural Supports Ontario initiative was created in 2011 to enhance health care services for older adults living at home and in long-term care residences. Through the program, specialized teams improve the quality of life for people with chronic mental health conditions and their caregivers by identifying triggers that can lead to agitation or aggressive behaviours before they start. The techniques and methods used as part of this initiative in long term care have helped contribute to lower rates of anti-psychotic drug use, injury to staff and lower use of restraints.

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The enhanced $10 million in funding will be used to enhance the services already in place and to hire more specialized staff for the program across the program.

This year Ontario is also increasing funding for residents of long-term care homes by up to $60 million to better support resident care needs. This investment will result in a two per cent increase for nursing and personal care allocations, and for program and support services, including physiotherapy and convalescent care.

  • In some long term care homes, within a year of the Behavioural Supports Ontario team’s arrival, staff were able to reduce the use of antipsychotic medications by almost half and the homes reported significantly less instances of aggressive behaviour and conflict among residents.
  • Data from Health Quality Ontario and the Canadian Institute for Health Information, shows that Ontario’s long-term care homes have significantly reduced the inappropriate prescribing of anti-psychotic drugs, and have cut the use of physical restraints by 50 per cent since 2010. Much of this can be attributed to the success of programs like Behavioural Supports Ontario.
  • Between 2011/12 and 2012/13, the ministry invested $59 million to successfully implement Behavioural Supports Ontario, which included supporting the redesign of service delivery across the province and hiring of over 600 new staff to meet the needs of individuals with challenging and complex behaviours.
  • Ontario’s health care budget has increased from $47.6 billion in 2012-13 to a total of $51.8 billion in 2016-17.
  • This year’s $51.8 billion investment in health care is a 2.1 per cent increase over last year – greater than the rate of inflation.
  • Today’s additional funding will build on current base funding of $44 million to help ensure this essential program remains in long-term care homes and other community centres. – CINEWS
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