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Ontario’s Eye Care Crisis: Visible for All to See – Goderich Signal Star

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Optometrists are the front-line workers of the vision care system, and their services are at the heart of screening and diagnostic services in Ontario.

Optometrists are passionate and proud to deliver high quality, accessible eye care, in urban centres and rural communities across the province.

Unfortunately, for more than 30 years, governments of all stripes have failed to invest in eye care. As a result, OHIP now only covers half the cost of an eye exam. Optometrists pay the rest out of their own pocket. Coupled with the devastating impact of COVID-19 on optometrists’ ability to see patients, eye care in Ontario is now at risk.

The pandemic has strained health professionals and decimated small businesses. As local optometrists, they are both – and they now are faced with the gut-wrenching decision about which patients to see, and which ones will need to be referred to another provider, such as a family doctor or a hospital.

This situation is unfair and they simply cannot do it any longer without courting bankruptcy.

Going to work every day knowing they will be operating at a loss is challenging enough. But even more debilitating is seeing what they devoted their entire career to – improving people’s quality of life – being dismissed as unessential.

Optometrists absolutely love what they do, not only because they can help improve patients’ eyesight, but they also have the ability, through comprehensive eye exams, to detect the early stages of potentially life-threatening diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and potential strokes. It is incredibly rewarding to help people lead healthier, happier lives.

But it’s time for Ontario’s elected officials to open their eyes to a crisis that’s about to become painfully visible for all to see. A message to government is not one of confrontation but of collaboration, because it doesn’t have to be this way.

With policy changes or assistance, optometrists can avoid further straining an already overstretched healthcare system.

With statistics showing that one in three Ontarians will have some form of vision-threatening eye disease by the age of 65, finding a sustainable solution is more pressing than ever.

Local optometrists feel they owe it to their parents and grandparents, their children and grandchildren, to find a better way forward.

To learn more and to add a voice to the growing number of Ontarians calling on government to work with optometrists, visit www.saveeyecare.ca.

–submitted by Huron Optometric Centres

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Ontario home-care providers push for expanded services to fight pandemic – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Four major home-care providers are asking the Ontario government to increase support for their sector, saying it would reduce pressure on a health-care system burdened by COVID-19.

The companies — Bayshore HealthCare, Closing the Gap Healthcare, VON Canada, and SE Health — say bolstering home care will allow long-term care homes and hospitals to operate more efficiently.

The group has launched a campaign today on their call for support.

The CEO of Closing the Gap Healthcare says COVID-19 transmission rates in home-care settings are much lower than in congregate care.

Leighton McDonald says by focusing on community-care, the province can help keep more people safe from the virus.

According to provincial data through the height of the first wave of COVID-19 until the end of May, there were 235 virus cases related to home care, compared to 4,518 in long-term care homes.

“What didn’t happen early in the pandemic was home care wasn’t seen as a as a critical alternative to much of the institutional care” McDonald said.

“Had that happened, we would have seen many more people cared for outside of settings that could have been potentially hazardous.”

McDonald said the coalition is hoping to build public support for increased wages and stability for workers in the home-care sector, who he said are often paid less than their colleagues in hospitals and long-term care.

“We’d like to see more people on full time salaries, and have stable employment, so that they can actually earn a living and work with one employer,” he said.

Dr. Samir Sinha, the director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, has been advocating for an overhaul for the home-care system for years.

Sinha said more than 38,000 Ontarians are on wait lists to get into long-term care because there isn’t enough access to home care.

But the cost to care for someone in long-term care is $180 a day, compared to $103 a day in the home care system, he said.

“When we don’t actually have enough home and community care available it puts incredible pressures on our hospitals and it also creates incredible pressure on a nursing home system, which is expensive to run,” he said.

Sinha said keeping people out of congregate care settings, where COVID-19 has killed more than 1,830 people during the pandemic is an important strategy and will help the province address capacity issues in long-term care and hospitals.

Hamilton resident Barbara Weigelt and her 78-year-old husband accessed home-care services and support the calls to boost the sector.

Weigelt said her husband had a series of health problems over several years including a heart surgery and a stroke. With the support of a registered nurse at home, and on-call after-hours care, they were able to manage.

“I consider it a lifesaver,” she said. “If we hadn’t had that opportunity I don’t think we could have managed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.

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COVID-19: Ontario home-care providers push for expanded services to fight pandemic – OrilliaMatters

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TORONTO — Four major home-care providers are asking the Ontario government to increase support for their sector, saying it would reduce pressure on a health-care system burdened by COVID-19.

The companies — Bayshore HealthCare, Closing the Gap Healthcare, VON Canada, and SE Health — say bolstering home care will allow long-term care homes and hospitals to operate more efficiently.

The group has launched a campaign today on their call for support.

The CEO of Closing the Gap Healthcare says COVID-19 transmission rates in home-care settings are much lower than in congregate care.

Leighton McDonald says by focusing on community-care, the province can help keep more people safe from the virus.

According to provincial data through the height of the first wave of COVID-19 until the end of May, there were 235 virus cases related to home care, compared to 4,518 in long-term care homes.

“What didn’t happen early in the pandemic was home care wasn’t seen as a as a critical alternative to much of the institutional care” McDonald said.

“Had that happened, we would have seen many more people cared for outside of settings that could have been potentially hazardous.”

McDonald said the coalition is hoping to build public support for increased wages and stability for workers in the home-care sector, who he said are often paid less than their colleagues in hospitals and long-term care.

“We’d like to see more people on full time salaries, and have stable employment, so that they can actually earn a living and work with one employer,” he said.

Dr. Samir Sinha, the director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, has been advocating for an overhaul for the home-care system for years.

Sinha said more than 38,000 Ontarians are on wait lists to get into long-term care because there isn’t enough access to home care.

But the cost to care for someone in long-term care is $180 a day, compared to $103 a day in the home care system, he said.

“When we don’t actually have enough home and community care available it puts incredible pressures on our hospitals and it also creates incredible pressure on a nursing home system, which is expensive to run,” he said.

Sinha said keeping people out of congregate care settings, where COVID-19 has killed more than 1,830 people during the pandemic is an important strategy and will help the province address capacity issues in long-term care and hospitals.

Hamilton resident Barbara Weigelt and her 78-year-old husband accessed home-care services and support the calls to boost the sector.

Weigelt said her husband had a series of health problems over several years including a heart surgery and a stroke. With the support of a registered nurse at home, and on-call after-hours care, they were able to manage.

“I consider it a lifesaver,” she said. “If we hadn’t had that opportunity I don’t think we could have managed.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 1, 2020.

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press

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Ontario home care providers push for expanded services to fight COVID-19 pandemic – Global News

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TORONTO — Four major home-care providers are asking the Ontario government to increase support for their sector, saying it would reduce pressure on a health-care system burdened by COVID-19.

The companies — Bayshore HealthCare, Closing the Gap Healthcare, VON Canada, and SE Health — say bolstering home care will allow long-term care homes and hospitals to operate more efficiently.

The group has launched a campaign today on their call for support.

The CEO of Closing the Gap Healthcare says COVID-19 transmission rates in home-care settings are much lower than in congregate care.

Read more:
Ontario tightens long-term care visitor rules as coronavirus cases increase

Leighton McDonald says by focusing on community-care, the province can help keep more people safe from the virus.

Story continues below advertisement

According to provincial data through the height of the first wave of COVID-19 until the end of May, there were 235 virus cases related to home care, compared to 4,518 in long-term care homes.

“What didn’t happen early in the pandemic was home care wasn’t seen as a as a critical alternative to much of the institutional care” McDonald said.

“Had that happened, we would have seen many more people cared for outside of settings that could have been potentially hazardous.”

McDonald said the coalition is hoping to build public support for increased wages and stability for workers in the home-care sector, who he said are often paid less than their colleagues in hospitals and long-term care.






2:30
Coronavirus: Ontario tightens ‘iron ring’ around long-term care homes


Coronavirus: Ontario tightens ‘iron ring’ around long-term care homes

“We’d like to see more people on full time salaries, and have stable employment, so that they can actually earn a living and work with one employer,” he said.

Story continues below advertisement

Dr. Samir Sinha, the director of geriatrics at Sinai Health System and the University Health Network, has been advocating for an overhaul for the home-care system for years.

Sinha said more than 38,000 Ontarians are on wait lists to get into long-term care because there isn’t enough access to home care.

But the cost to care for someone in long-term care is $180 a day, compared to $103 a day in the home care system, he said.

“When we don’t actually have enough home and community care available it puts incredible pressures on our hospitals and it also creates incredible pressure on a nursing home system, which is expensive to run,” he said.

Read more:
Latest COVID-19 modelling suggests Ontario could see around 1,000 cases a day in October

Sinha said keeping people out of congregate care settings, where COVID-19 has killed more than 1,830 people during the pandemic is an important strategy and will help the province address capacity issues in long-term care and hospitals.

Hamilton resident Barbara Weigelt and her 78-year-old husband accessed home-care services and support the calls to boost the sector.

Weigelt said her husband had a series of health problems over several years including a heart surgery and a stroke. With the support of a registered nurse at home, and on-call after-hours care, they were able to manage.

Story continues below advertisement

“I consider it a lifesaver,” she said. “If we hadn’t had that opportunity I don’t think we could have managed.”

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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