Ontario Giving Long-term Care Residents More Nutritional Choices and Variety
TORONTO —The Ontario government is investing over $40 million in additional nutritional support funding for long-term care homes so residents can receive more individualized food choices, more fresh produce and local foods in season, and additional menu flexibility.
“Our government has a plan to fix long-term care and to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care they need and deserve,” said Paul Calandra, Minister of Long-Term Care. “This major funding increase for food and nutrition will go a long way to supporting the comfort and quality of life of residents.”
In addition to providing a 15 per cent funding increase for nutritional support to homes, the government is adopting new regulations under the Fixing Long-Term Care Act, 2021 that will further increase quality of life and care for residents. Once they come into effect on July 11, 2022, long-term care homes will be required to deliver:
- Menu planning flexibility that better reflects the needs of the residents such as speciality diets and menu substitutions that have consistent nutritional value;
- Menus that are approved by a registered dietitian in addition to residents’ preferences;
- Menus that provide a variety of foods every day, including fresh produce and local foods in season;
- More flexibility for each home to increase menu choices for residents and reduce food waste; and
- Meals and snacks at times that are chosen with support from the home’s Residents’ Council and its administrator.
The government has a plan to fix long-term care and to ensure Ontario’s seniors get the quality of care and quality of life they need and deserve both now and in the future. The plan is built on three pillars: staffing and care; accountability, enforcement, and transparency; and building modern, safe, comfortable homes for seniors.
- The planned 15 per cent increase in nutritional support accounts for the estimated 8.3 per cent increase in food costs since 2019, as well as ‘hidden’ food inflation not captured in the official data, to enable LTC homes to better provide residents with safe and appropriate food and nutrition services that are in alignment with their plans of care, and contribute to better health and quality of life outcomes
- The Ontario government will also provide $673 million to long-term care homes in 2022-23 to hire and retain up to 10,000 long-term care staff across the province, leading to more direct care for residents. This is part of the province’s $4.9 billion commitment to hire more than 27,000 long-term care staff over four years and ensure that residents receive on average four hours of direct care per day by 2024-25.
- The province has also committed $72.3 million over three years to increase long-term care enforcement capacity and ensure every resident experiences the safest and best quality of life, and to hold homes to account for the care they provide. This includes a $20 million investment in 2021-2022 to double the number of inspectors by fall 2022 and the launch in fall 2021 of a new and improved annual proactive inspections program in long-term care homes.