OTTAWA —For the past five years, Gweneth Gowanlock has received help from community agencies in looking after her 78-year-old husband who has dementia. “Without it, I’m not sure what kind of pickle we’d be in.” Both retired public servants, she attends a monthly support group and he goes to day programs for people with dementia. “It means I have five hours to myself which is a blessing.” A personal support worker visits their Mechanicsville house for two hours a week. Gowanlock, 66, welcomed the Ontario government’s announcement on Wednesday of an additional $11.1 million a year for community health services in the region. “For us, it may mean that my husband can stay home longer. With help and support we can carry on and we have a reasonable quality of life.” The new funding will provide services to 3,000 more people.

Still more are expected to benefit from an additional 65,000 hours of service, such as nursing, personal support and respite care. Services also include rehabilitation, adult day programs, and 24/7 assisted-living for seniors at risk of hospitalization. The announcement “is about transforming our health-care system, as we know it,” said Chantale LeClerc, head of the Champlain Local Health Integration Network, the regional health authority. “Providing the type of care we’re talking about can mean the difference between living at home, living a healthy active life, and having to access institutional care or hospital care,” said LeClerc. In-home care helps seniors return home sooner after a hospital stay, frees up hospital and long-term care beds, shortens emergency room wait times and reduces the number of readmitted patients, she added. “Hospitals are great places to get well when you are really sick, but hospitals are not the kinds of places where you stay for a long time,” said Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa-Centre. “We need to get you fixed. We need to bring you home and keep you healthy. That’s how we will get the best bang for our very precious taxpayers’ dollar.”

The Champlain Community Care Access Centre (CCAC), is among more than 30 agencies to receive extra funding. “This is wonderful news,” said Sophie Parisien, CCAC director of client services. With $7.1 million more a year, the CCAC will be able to serve another 920 clients, reduce waiting lists and deliver more personal support, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech therapy. It intends to beef up support for people coming out of hospital, as well as those living at home with complex chronic conditions. Valerie Bishop de Young is executive director of VHA Health and Home Support. “This money will enable us to provide an additional 11,000 hours of personal support and respite services each year,” she said. “I’m particularly moved by this significant investment because like thousands of baby boomers here in Ottawa and Eastern Ontario I am the daughter of aging parents. “Mom has personal support to help her take a bath, and Dad has access to a wide range of transportation services to help him get to medical appointments, and their home is kept clean and safe. Community support services make a profound difference. I am living the reality.” The government also announced more funding for addictions and mental health services, especially targeting pregnant and parenting women, those with addictions to narcotics such as OxyContin and Fentanyl, and the homeless. The province currently provides $327 million a year to non-profit health and support agencies in the region. © Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen Read more: