Physiotherapy Funding Reforms Needed but Must Recognize Value of Other Supports for Long Term Care Residents

Toronto, Ontario (April 18, 2013) – Minister Matthews announced changes today to provide publicly-funded physiotherapy services to more people across the province. In long term care, the focus will be one-on-one physiotherapy for all residents with assessed need.

“We are fully behind reforms to provide greater access to physiotherapy services and have been calling for a review of the funding model for some time,” said Donna Rubin, CEO of OANHSS. “Our concern is that what the government may view as service expansion will be perceived as service reduction by many residents in homes.”

The model currently used by most homes provides residents with a wide range of services beyond physiotherapy to improve functioning and mobility, including activation programs and occupational therapy.

“We understand and support the need to ensure that physiotherapy funding is used specifically for physiotherapy. However, government needs to recognize that as we transition to a new system, residents may experience a reduction in the services they’ve become accustomed to receiving. We are looking to the Ministry to ensure exercise programs that enhance mobility and prevent falls will be covered. The $10 million being allocated is a good step, but this equates to just $0.36 per resident and won’t cover the shortfall,” added Rubin.

“The government decided on this new approach so we need to take some time to review these changes with our members and to work with government to fully understand the impact and the process for transitioning the sector,” said Rubin.

OANHSS will also be looking for further information on how this decision affects the convalescent care program in long term care homes, and in particular the government’s plans to expand this service.

“This restructuring of physiotherapy comes at time when the government is looking to the long term care sector to play a greater role in providing short-term and convalescent care for people coming out of hospital. Physiotherapy is a huge component of these programs and we need to know what these changes will mean,” added Rubin.

OANHSS is the provincial association representing not-for-profit providers of long term care, services and housing for seniors. Members include municipal and charitable long term care homes, non-profit nursing homes, seniors’ housing projects and community service agencies. Member organizations operate over 27,000 long term care beds and over 8,000 seniors’ housing units across the province.

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For more information, contact

Debbie Humphreys
Senior Director, Corporate and Public Affairs
(W) 905-851-8821 ext. 233
(C) 416-553-7401