Body pain isn’t any fun. It prevents you from enjoying physical hobbies such as gardening or every day activities like walking. When you aren’t sick, but your body aches, you know you need to see someone who can help you work on the discomfort: a physiotherapist. But sometimes, they aren’t always accessible. This is often the case for many older adults living in a retirement home who don’t have a source of transportation for these appointments.
Well, things are about to change.
Big news came last month when the Ontario Physiotherapy Association (OPA) announced the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care’s plan to reform publicly funded physiotherapy in Ontario. The plan is for more Ontarians, especially vulnerable seniors, to have access to the quality physiotherapy they need, when and where they need it.
The government is spending $156 million — $10 million more than last year — to provide more people in nursing homes and communities with one-on-one physiotherapy, group exercise classes and services to prevent falls, reports The Hamilton Spectator.
Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews says that, “Once the changes take effect Aug. 1, there will be one-on-one physiotherapy for all eligible seniors in nursing homes, as well as group exercise classes.”
The press release states that the new funding and delivery models are not only expected to enhance access to physiotherapy for more Ontarians, but also improve equitable access to all regions of the province by better aligning physiotherapy delivery with health system priorities. The goal is to improve outcomes in long-term care homes, while enhancing seniors’ access to clinic and in-home physiotherapy.
“The OPA has long advocated for reform of the funding and delivery models for physiotherapy. We are pleased that Minister Matthews has recognized the importance and value of physiotherapy and demonstrated the political will to act,” Amanda Smart, OPA President and a practicing physiotherapist, said in a statement. “This change was needed as the previous funding model was not fiscally sustainable nor fully accessible to the most vulnerable population, Ontario’s seniors living in the community.”