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New community-based physiotherapy for seniors

May 2, 2013

Community settings will be the new venue for a suite of physical therapies for seniors and eligible patients with funding from the Government of Ontario. Physiotherapy, exercise and fall prevention classes will be available in long-term care homes and in communities across Ontario.

Until now, a small number of for-profit companies have had almost exclusive control over the delivery of publicly-funded physiotherapy. Starting on August 1, 2013, community-based physiotherapy, exercise classes and falls prevention services will be offered in more locations across Ontario. In total, 218,000 more people, mostly seniors, will benefit from the additional services. Expanding physiotherapy is part of the Ontario government’s Action Plan for Seniors, ensuring seniors and their families have access to quality services and supports in order to lead healthy and independent lives.

Following the recommendations in “Living Longer, Living Well,” Dr. Samir Sinha’s report on a Seniors Strategy for Ontario, the province is making improvements to the delivery of physiotherapy that will:

  • Provide access to exercise and falls prevention classes for 68,000 additional seniors in community settings. LHINs will work with local service providers to determine where these services could be delivered to best meet local needs. Sites will include retirement homes, community centres and other community settings. Ontario will work with LHINs to expand the number of exercise and falls prevention classes as well as the availability of these additional services across the province through a $10 million investment.
  • Provide funding for one-on-one physiotherapy for all long-term care residents with assessed need, in addition to group exercise classes.
  • Offer in-home physiotherapy for 60,000 more seniors and people with mobility issues to clear current waitlists through the Community Care Access Centres.
  • Expand clinic-based physiotherapy services across Ontario for 90,000 more seniors and eligible patients.

In addition, Ontario will integrate physiotherapy into family health care settings, including Family Health Teams, Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinics, and Community Health Centres.

Over the coming months, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the LHINs will engage physiotherapy providers and community partners interested in delivering these services in communities across Ontario. Patients, health care partners and service providers will also be consulted to ensure those with the greatest need benefit from these improvements.

For more information, please visit “Helping Ontario’s Seniors Stay Healthy and Active.”

See Dr. Samir Sinha’s report on a Seniors Strategy for Ontario “Living Longer, Living Well” at www.health.gov.on.ca.

See the Ontario government’s “Action Plan for Seniors” at www.health.gov.on.ca.

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