When I was on Brant County Council, I was the chair of the John Noble Home board for two years. It was a good introduction to the state of long-term care in this province.
I learned it needed a lot of work. The waitlist for long-term care beds was stupendously long because the demand always outstrips construction of new facilities.
To me, there was a two-pronged approach to helping seniors.
First is to help them stay in their homes. One program that has made a huge difference is the Community Paramedic Program. Brant County was a pilot site for the program in which paramedics go into homes to administer medication, check monitoring equipment and do other things to help seniors stay healthy at home.
I worked with the Minister of Long-Term care to help expand it across the province. Now, we can provide services to these vulnerable seniors for tens of dollars a day rather than hundreds of dollars.
The second approach was to build more spaces in long-term care homes. The old funding formula made it hard to home operators to finance expansions or new buildings. After getting elected I worked with my colleagues to change the formula.
As a result, we’ve seen a huge expansion in the number of beds in Brantford-Brant. We’ve announced funding for 500 brand new beds and 340 redeveloped beds. Those are existing beds that are being brought up to today’s standards.
It’s not just about opening new beds, though. We also have to raise the standard of care. We’re putting money into ensuring that everyone in a long-term care home gets four hours a day of personal care.
We’re rolling out the program though it will take a couple of years to ramp because it takes time to recruit and train the staff. But we’ll get it done.
For example, the John Noble Home is getting $1.3 million to hire new staff members. There’s money available at every long-term care facility in Brantford-Bant.
My mother lives in long-term care so I know how important it is to take care of people there.
I spend a lot of time in my optometry practice serving seniors.
When I look at them, I don’t see an elderly, frail person. I see them young and strong, going off to war or working hard to raise a family or build a business.
I’ve had a lot of opportunities to say thank you to people for the service they’ve given to our country. To be able to take care of those who have built the legacy we enjoy today means a great deal to me.