LHIN enhances mental health services

June 1, 2012 - All News

The Central West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) says Brampton seniors are receiving better care in long-term care facilities and hospitals thanks to the provincial Behavioural Supports Ontario (BSO) Project.
“The Central West LHIN has a large population of seniors that require specialized care,” said Mimi Lowi-Young, LHIN CEO. “By working together with health service providers, we were able to identify the need for new positions that will not only provide care for seniors and their caregivers, but share skills and knowledge across the system to create a network of care.”
BSO is a $40-million investment by the Ontario government, of which the Central West LHIN received $1.9 million to enhance services for seniors with complex behaviours due to dementia and other neurological conditions.
In the Central West LHIN, 21 long-term care facilities and six community agencies are participating in the BSO project, including the Central West Community Care Access Centre, Alzheimer Society of Peel and Punjabi Community Health Services.
The LHIN and health service providers worked together to create 26 new BSO positions in long-term care facilities and community agencies in Brampton, Caledon, Dufferin County, Malton, Rexdale and Woodbridge.
Specialized training was provided to identify and understand responsive and complex behaviours.
BSO specialists are working closely with health care workers to identify triggers of responsive behaviours and develop strategies for modifying these behaviours with much success.
As a result, seniors are getting better care because they are understood better, says the LHIN.
“Some of our health service providers have already reported seeing improvements in how seniors interact with their caregivers,” Lowi-Young said.
Currently, 65 per cent of long-term care home residents have dementia and people with dementia occupy 34 per cent of Alternate Level of Care (ALC) bed days.
By 2020, the number of persons with dementia in Ontario will increase by 40 per cent to 250,000.
Patients with behavioural problems or dementia often end up in the hospital’s emergency department because their loved ones or caregivers in long-term care residences cannot handle them.
Some have remained in hospital long after they required acute services because there was nowhere else in the community for them.
The BSO project aims to address the need for services, say health officials.
To date, more than 300 new front-line staff have been hired across the province, over 310 long-term care facilities have increased their in-house behavioural supports, and as much as 4,000 front-line staff have received specialized training to work with seniors with responsive behaviours.
“Ontario’s population is aging and so too are the numbers of seniors living with dementia and other complex health needs. These seniors need and deserve quality patient-centered care,” said Deb Matthews, Ontario’s minister of health and long-term care. “Investment in Behavioural Supports Ontario has enabled dedicated health care providers to work with their LHINs to develop and implement local plans that are making a difference and leading to the right care being delivered in the right place, at the right time.”