NSM LHIN Leads in Finding Solutions for Patients Waiting for Personal Support Services
Productive Collaboration with Partners on Personal Support Capacity leads to Analysis and Solutions
November 23, 2017
L-R: Debbie Roberts, VP, Quality and Performance NSM LHIN; Cathy Browne, Director, Patient Services Contracts, NSM LHIN.
The North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (NSM LHIN) is taking major steps with its partners to address existing and expected future challenges to providing patients with access to personal support services.
The focus of this work is to ensure support for individuals to remain in the community for as long as possible. The North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN understands that personal support services are pivotal to ensuring patients and families receive care when they need it, and where they want to receive it.
“We recognize that it can be a stressful time for families when there is difficulty in obtaining personal support services which can impact the number of days a patient waits until services are available and a safe transition can be coordinated,” says Jill Tettmann, CEO, NSM LHIN. “The NSM LHIN endeavours to provide timely access to quality, safe care.”
Although the shortage in personal support service capacity is not unique to the North Simcoe Muskoka region, demand for personal support services across the home and community care continuum continues to grow. This is not surprising given the growing number of seniors. In North Simcoe Muskoka, those aged 65 years and over is forecast to more than double over the next 20 years, from 93,000 in 2016 to over 177,500 – or close to 30% of the population – by 2036.
Several months ago, the NSM LHIN launched a project focused on identifying sustainable strategies to reduce the gap between personal support worker (PSW) demand and supply. The scope of this project includes information gathering, understanding key drivers, and identifying actions for improvement.
“Personal support work is a difficult and demanding job, and many partners are working together to try to figure out how to position personal support as an attractive and viable career choice in order to compete in what will become a very tight labour market in the future,” said Debbie Roberts, VP, Quality and Performance NSM LHIN, She and Cathy Browne, Director, Patient Service Contracts, NSM LHIN, have led the project work with stakeholders to examine factors affecting the gap between PSS supply and demand in North Simcoe Muskoka.
The NSM LHIN recently released an information-gathering report: Personal Support Services: Examining the Factors Affecting the Gap between Supply and Demand in North Simcoe Muskoka. It summarizes key findings about the gap between the need for personal support services and the supply of personal support workers across the region in the community support service (CSS) sector, the home care sector, and the long-term care sector. This report was a key input into a planning forum held November 9, 2017 in Barrie where key stakeholders participated in collectively identifying local actions.
Participants included members of the NSM LHIN Home and Community Care Team; LHIN-funded and contracted providers of home and community care; Long-Term Care Homes; local educational institutions offering PSW programs; and provincial associations, such as Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA).
Participants were engaged in collectively identifying and prioritizing change ideas to reduce the gap between supply and demand of PSWs in North Simcoe Muskoka.
A second report will link the key findings from Phase One with the priorities for action. It is expected to be available early in the new year.
- Approximately three years ago, home care organizations in North Simcoe Muskoka began to experience a shortage of PSWs. Over the last several months, evidence suggests that the gap between the need for personal support services and the supply of qualified individuals is widening both in home and community care and in long-term care.
- PSWs in Ontario are primarily female and almost three quarters are 40 years of age or older.
- Between 2015-16 and 2021-22, demand for personal support services in North Simcoe Muskoka is projected to grow nine times faster than the workforce.
- Between 2015-16 and 2035-36, demand for personal support services in North Simcoe Muskoka is projected to grow twenty times faster than the workforce.
- Personal Support Services: Examining the Factors Affecting the Gap between Supply and Demand in North Simcoe Muskoka has been shared with NSM LHIN-funded health-service providers, contracted service providers, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and other LHINs.
- The next phase of the project will focus on identifying strategies to reduce the gap between PSW supply and demand.
- The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and LHINs, including the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN will be working together over the next several months to identify and begin implementing short-term solutions to PSW supply challenges in the province. We expect that the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN’s work on PSW supply and demand will greatly support these broader provincial efforts.
For more information please contact:
Shelby Rushton, Communications Coordinator
North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN
705-721-8010 ext. 2274