Improving Care for Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients
MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill and MPP Natalia Kusendova-Bashta, Mississauga-Centre introduce Private Members’ Bill
QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill, and MPP Natalia Kusendova-Bashta, Mississauga-Centre tabled a joint Private Members’ Bill today to start a meaningful conversation about how Ontario can provide better care for seniors, and those living with Alzheimer’s Disease Related Dementias (ADRD). The Improving Dementia Care in Ontario Act, 2023 calls on the Ministry of Health to develop a provincial framework designed to support improved access to dementia care, and calls on the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to review its “Personal Support Worker Standard” to better equip healthcare providers with the best knowledge, skills and training for providing person-centred dementia care.
“The goal is to raise awareness and foster a discussion on Alzheimer’s and Dementia,” said MPP Laura Smith, Thornhill. “The silver wave is upon us and with the aging population, it affects so many people and families—this a conversation that should happen.”
The 2022 Landmark study shows that over 250,000 Ontarians are living with Alzheimer’s Disease or Related Dementias, and the number is projected to increase to 400,000 by 2030.
“Dementia affects not only the patient, but also their family and community” said MPP Natalia Kusendova-Bashta, Mississauga Centre. “We must prioritize support and advocacy to improve the quality of life for those living with dementia, their care providers and caregivers. By increasing public awareness and enhancing support, we can strive towards a more inclusive province to ensure dignity, compassion, and meaningful support for those impacted by this difficult diagnosis.”
The bill calls on the Ministry of Health to examine the current state of care, programs, and resources available to persons living with dementia, as well as identify dementia research and common data elements. This includes, among other things, identifying measures to facilitate equitable access to dementia care across Ontario, such as strategies to increase awareness of programs like the First Link program offered through the Alzheimer Society of Ontario;
“Our government continues to make significant investments to support individuals with dementia and their caregivers,” said Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Sylvia Jones “We will continue to work with our partners to connect all Ontarians to the care they need, throughout their lifetime.”
This bill further calls on the Ministry of Colleges and Universities to review its “Personal Support Worker Standard” to determine if certain changes should be made, including whether to require in-depth learning about person-centred dementia care.
“Our government is continuously updating the standards so that Personal Support Workers are trained and equipped to provide person-centred dementia care,” said Jill Dunlop, Minister of
Colleges and Universities, “we will continue to collaborate with our postsecondary institutions to ensure healthcare training standards are up-to-date so that quality healthcare continues to be delivered in Ontario.”
“Your proposed Improving Dementia Care in Ontario Act directly responds to challenges facing Ontarians living with dementia today, and better prepares the province to support those who will be impacted by dementia in years to come. The Alzheimer Society of Ontario fully supports this Act, and we urge your colleagues in government to move quickly to ensure its passage into law.”
– Alzheimer Society of Ontario
“On behalf of the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA), I would like to offer our support for and commitment to dementia care education. As a sector, our members are continuously working to ensure their staff are well equipped with solutions to help residents with their health challenges, including cognitive issues.”
– Ontario Retirement Communities Association
· The First Link Program is both an-online and an in-person resource that helps people recognize the signs of dementia – and learn how to navigate the challenges that come with a diagnosis. First Link®: Help for people living with dementia and care partners | Alzheimer Society of Canada
· Person-Centered Dementia care is a holistic and integrative approach designed to maintain well-being and quality of life for people living with dementia, and includes the elements of care for the patient, the health care practitioner, and the family.