In the fall of 2017, the Ontario government announced the future implementation of a government home care agency for PSWs designed to provide personal care support to patients directly in their homes.
The new agency, called Self-Directed Personal Support Services Ontario (SDPSSO), has the intent to improve home care to Ontarians that need support.
Although these services are already managed by organizations such as the Community Care Access Centre, or CCAC, the new government home care agency for Personal Support Workers is looking to provide those in need of a Personal Support Worker in their home with more choice in choosing a support worker and more control in the schedule of their caregiving.
BEFORE GOING FURTHER…
Please note that this new agency focuses on changing the delivery of Personal Support Worker services provided in the home only and should not affect those PSWs working in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
WHY THIS NEW GOVERNMENT HOME CARE AGENCY FOR PSWs?
This government’s intervention in the delivery of personal support services stemmed from an audit of the CCAC in Ontario that took place in 2015.
The results of the audit highlighted many concerns with the way the CCAC has been handling government provided funding as well as the delivery of care to its clients.
LACK OF CLARITY
The first of the many issues found is the lack of clarity in spending directly on health care costs.
It is difficult to determine how much of the funding provided to the CCAC agencies was actually used to directly benefit patients.
when looking at services such as face-to-face treatments with patients, only 61 percent of their expenditure went directly to patient care.
Another alarming issue the government uncovered through this audit is that the rates charged for different services were highly inconsistent within each service offering.
This essentially means that clients have been charged different amounts for the exact same service.
DELAY IN SERVICES
Additionally, some patients requiring immediate attention upon release from a hospital were not seen for over 24 hours.
SPENDING ON THYSELF
A final glaring issue, in light of these service delivery concerns, is the fact that between 2009 and 2013 executives at CCAC had their salaries increase by 37% while client care was sub-optimal.
All these issues present a clear picture of the problem with how the government feels the CCAC has fallen short with the delivery of client care and allocation of funds.
SO WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT?
Beginning May 3rd of this year, and wrapping up on June 21st, the government will begin merging the current CCAC organizations with the new SDPSSO.
These services will all now be a part of Ontario’s Local Health Integration Network or LHIN for short.
The new organization will provide more flexibility in the care for patients requiring a PSW.
The care will be self-directed in that patients will have the ability to choose their own PSW and arrange a care that works best for their needs and their schedule.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AS A PSW?
There are pros and cons to this new method of PSW service delivery.
Cutting costs of upper management redirect the costs back to the direct care of patients – meaning PSWs will have the funding required to do their job in providing home care in a more effective manner.
The new government home care agency for PSWs will hire PSWs that will be considered government employees, and the government often provides comfortable wages and benefits as well as job security.
There will likely be an increase in job creation in the PSW field as this organization recognizes the need to increase the availability of home care workers to help meet the needs of clients.
Besides the CCAC, there are other reputable non-profit organizations providing personal support care services to patients in Ontario including Victorian Order of Nurses and Saint Elizabeth Health Care.
These non-profit organizations currently provide quality care but could provide better care if given more government funding.
Long-term, the SDPSSO may draw financial resources away from these other organizations, which will inhibit their ability to continue to provide quality care.
Eventually, it could lead to the SDPSSO monopolizing home care service in Ontario.
Again long-term, if the SDPSSO monopolizes all in-home care delivery across Ontario, PSW jobs in other home-care organizations could be at risk as they struggle to have enough funds to support clients and pay workers.
HOW TO GET A POSITION WITH THIS NEW GOVERNMENT HOME CARE AGENCY FOR PSWs?
At this point, it is still early on in the implementation of this new organization and management is likely taking its time assessing current resources and determining where there are shortages.
Since the SDPSSO is a part of the LHIN, as positions become available, they will most likely be posted on the LHIN website, which can be found here.
There are separate pages for each geographic region, so be sure to check out each of the career pages for the regions you would be interested in working in.
At this time, it is still very early in the process, so it could take months, if not years to feel the full effects of this new organization on the health care system.
There are many that are not happy with the government’s decision to overhaul home-care delivery, and as a result, the government is now facing a lawsuit from a coalition of home care organizations.
These companies are questioning the intent of the government’s implementation of the SDPSSO and highlight potential dire consequences on the health care system.