Ontario expands access to health care in communities

Massage Therapy Canada staff
April 14, 2015
By Massage Therapy Canada staff
Ontario is helping more people in Windsor-Essex, Chatham-Kent, and Sarnia-Lambton access health-care services that will help them maintain their strength and mobility, recover from illness or injury, and address mental health and addictions challenges.
The province is investing more than $2.8 million to expand access to health-care services across the Erie St. Clair Local Health Integration Network (LHIN). The health-care services and programs supported by this investment include:

•    Enhancing rehabilitative services and programs to help seniors with complex medical conditions who have experienced a recent loss of strength or mobility.  This will help frail seniors regain the physical strength to return home after a stay in hospital and avoid emergency department visits and hospital admissions.  These investments will be provided to Bluewater Health, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Leamington District Memorial Hospital and Windsor Regional Hospital.

•    Expanding access to physiotherapy into primary health care settings at the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic.  This will help residents, including seniors, access programs supported by physiotherapists at the same place where they receive primary health care services, including diagnoses for common illness and injuries, and support to manage chronic conditions.

•    Helping the Essex County Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic to deliver timely, appropriate, high-quality low back pain services in partnership with City Centre Health Care in Windsor.  This is part of Ontario's investment for primary care organizations to provide additional hours for a range of allied health providers including chiropractors, physiotherapists and registered massage therapists to address low back pain.  This includes providing faster and more accurate assessments of low back pain problems using a more holistic approach.

•    Investing in local mental health and addictions organizations in the Erie St. Clair LHIN to provide care closer to home for those who are experiencing mental health and addictions challenges. This is part of the next phase of Ontario's Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy.

Improving access to home care, community supports and mental health and addiction services is part of the government's plan to build a better Ontario through its Patients First: Action Plan for Health Care, the ministry said. This program aims to provide patients with faster access to the right care, better home and community care, the information they need to stay healthy and a health care system that's sustainable for generations to come.

Ontario is investing $44 million province wide in rehabilitative and expanded physiotherapy services, to support home and community care.

About 150,000 individuals, or about eight per cent of all seniors living in the community, have multiple chronic conditions or complex care needs that may lead to hospital stays. For frail seniors, extended bed rest during a hospital stay can cause more rapid loss of muscle strength and flexibility than in younger people.

Approximately 30 per cent of Ontarians will experience a mental health and/or substance abuse problem at some point in their lifetime, with one out of 40 Ontarians having a serious mental illness.

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