Seniors in Lambton county homes will get less physiotherapy

A plan to provide more physiotherapy to seniors living at home will result in seniors in nursing homes getting less help.

That’s according to Chris Doyle, the general manager of Long-term Care in Lambton County. He’s been studying the effects of a new provincial plan which shifts $44 million earmarked for physiotherapy in nursing homes to the community. The provincial government estimates 68,000 seniors in the community will be able to access exercise and fall prevention classes, clear waiting list for in-home physiotherapy to seniors and expand clinic services to serve 90,000 more people

But Doyle says people in local nursing homes will get less service because of the shift. Doyle says the province is giving each home $750 a year per bed for physiotherapy services things such as teaching bed-ridden seniors to walk again and fitting them with wheelchairs.

“I could spend all of that money in the first three or four months,” he says. “It is a form of rationing. I’m concerned we won’t have enough money for services.”

“There will be people who need more physiotherapy than we can afford,” says Doyle.

County staff estimates the amount of money for physiotherapy in the homes will decrease by roughly 25 percent.

Doyle says in the long run, residents will suffer more physical problems, including decreased circulation, without the needed physiotherapy.

And he’s concerned the quality of life for the patients will decrease. “If the residents do have mobility issues, shouldn’t we be helping them to be the best they can be with their limitation?”

“Their quality of life should be no different than yours or mine.”

– Heather Wright