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New measures for residents of long-term care homes

Ontario Long-Term Care Minister Paul Calandra today announced two pilot projects aimed at helping long-term care residents gain faster access to diagnostic testing.

The pilot projects are set to include transportation to appointments and increased access to staff to coordinate these services for residents, as well as increased direct care time for each long-term care home resident.

The government will connect residents of long-term care homes to faster, more accessible and convenient diagnostic services. To begin with, the province is partnering with two pilot projects, one here in Toronto at Humber River Hospital and the second at the Royal Victoria Regional Centre in Barrie. The extended services will include access to key diagnostic services, such as x-rays and ultrasounds, and support for long-term care home residents to receive these services quickly. As a next step, we will work in partnership with hospitals and community labs on a broader plan to provide these same services to all long-term care home residents across the province. Having the right staff to provide the necessary care is also absolutely crucial, which is why we are working to strengthen staffing and reach the goal of providing at least 4 hours a day of direct care to every resident.

He further expressed that the province will consider recently released standards for long-term care homes in the country, but will not "water down" what it is already doing to improve care for residents.

At a press conference Tuesday, Paul Calandra said Ontario has some of the highest standards in the country to begin with, pointing to its move to provide four hours of daily care by 2025, building or upgrading nearly 60,000 long-term care beds in Ontario, and having "one of the highest ratios" of inspectors per home in North America.

"I have no interest in diluting what Ontario is already doing," Calandra said.

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