Staying Put ~ That’s the mission of the Ontario Community Support Association

Across the province of Ontario each year, over one million people receive home care and community support services – and the need is steadily growing. Enter the Ontario Community Support Association (OCSA).

​OCSA is a not-for-profit organization that facilitates support through community-based member organizations who are already providing a wide variety of health and wellness services. Ontario Community Support Association represents close to 230 not-for-profit organizations that provide home care and community support services that help seniors and people with disabilities live independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible.

Through OCSA, connection to services can be made for a range of people, including seniors and people with disabilities. The intent is to support individuals where they are, and who want to remain independent in their own homes and communities.

‘​These compassionate and cost-effective services improve quality of life, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations, emergency room visits and premature institutionalization. They are the key to a sustainable health care system for Ontario.’

The services offered are as follows:

Home Care Services, including nursing, personal support services, occupational therapy and other services that provide personalized, convenient care for those transitioning out of hospital or requiring a little extra help at home.

Nutrition Programs like congregate dining and Meals on Wheels that provide more than a nutritious meal – they offer vital social contact and safety checks for those living alone.

Transportation Services that enable seniors and people with disabilities to attend medical appointments. Many transportation services offer wheelchair accessible vehicles and door-to-door support.

Respite and Adult Day Programs that offer family caregivers much-needed rest and support.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved and has presented significant challenges, the home care sector has developed and implemented responsive strategies to reduce transmission by delivering care to over 750,000 Ontarians in their own homes.

A sector-wide collaborative approach between both Home Care Ontario and Ontario Community Support Association, has been used to implement leading and best practices that support remotely-managed staff to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and provide on-going quality health care to citizens.

Individuals receiving homecare services during the pandemic cited that the top reasons for ‘feeling safe’ included, consistency of caregivers, frequent communication, appropriate use of PPE (personal protective equipment) and respect for socially distanced treatment whenever possible.

During the period January 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020 there were 2,388  positive staff cases in the Long Term Care, Retirement Home, Hospital and Home Care sector. Of these cases the home care sector reported approximately 83 cases (3.48%) as home care is not listed in the official PH sources, this data was retrieved from 5 large home care providers delivering home care in Ontario.

The aging of Ontario’s population is well-documented, and has had a significant impact on the health care system.The number of seniors aged 65 and over is projected to more than double from 2.2 million in 2015 to over 4.5 million (25.3 percent of the population) by 2041.Though they make up only 14.6 percent of our current population, nearly half of health care spending goes to seniors. Almost 80% of those over the age of 45 live with a chronic condition, and 70% of chronically ill Ontarians over the age of 45 have multiple conditions. One in seven people in Ontario have a disability. That’s almost 2 million Ontarians. By 2036, that number will rise to 1 in 5 as people age. Over the next 20 years, aging Ontarians and people with disabilities will represent 40% of total income in Ontario.

Home Care Ontario and the Ontario Community Support Association further work to inform the Ministry of Health (MOH) and other health partners about efforts the homecare sector have undertaken in maintaining the lowest levels of Covid-19 transmission. Ontario’s home care sector is proving to be a safe option and must be a key part of future plans to help people stay home and live their lives where they are – in ways that facilitate a safe space for those individuals.

To learn more about Ontario Community Support Association, visit the website.