$3.25M to keep seniors at home longer

·2 min read

The province is providing Haliburton County $3.25 million to expand its community paramedicine for long-term care program.

The funding announced March 9 will be used to expand the program, which has paramedics use their expertise to do regular, non-emergency home visits to provide care and reduce emergency hospital trips. The province said the funding initiative, which began October 20 in five other communities, will help seniors on long-term care waitlists stay home longer.

Warden Liz Danielsen spoke positively about the news at a March 10 committee of the whole meeting.

“I look forward to seeing how this will roll out,” Danielsen said. “It’s a fabulous project and I know it’s a lot of work for you [County paramedic services chief] Tim [Waite], but I think it will be worthwhile in the end.”

Waite told council the dollars will be over three years, but logistics need to be worked out and a formal report will come to the March 24 meeting.

However, he reported Jan. 24 that the funding could see upwards of four additional community paramedics hired for full-time, three-year contracts, entirely funded by the provincial government.

“This new funding will help keep our loved ones at home longer and avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital,” Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Laurie Scott said. “Thanks to our Haliburton County Paramedic Service, this program will help even more seniors and has the potential to delay the need for long-term care.”

The initiative comes in response to increasing demand for long-term care. The province has said it is implementing the paramedicine expansion program in phases, with Haliburton County included in the second part.

Waite said the government is focusing on municipalities that already have community paramedicine with this intake.

“Expanding the program across the province means that more of our loved ones can access services from their own homes, potentially even delaying the need for long-term care,” Minister of Long-Term Care Merrilee Fullerton said.

Waite said Jan. 24 it is not certain whether the province would continue the funding after three years, but added individuals hired could be laid off at the end of the contract if needed.

County committee of the whole did not make a formal resolution March 10 but agreed to let the CAO and warden sign a transfer payment agreement to get the funding rolling.

Deputy warden Patrick Kennedy congratulated Waite for the local program’s success.

“Great program. You’ve really helped it mature and become a provincial leader,” he said.

Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander