Balance of Care research was first pioneered in the UK by Dr. David Challis and his colleagues at the Personal Social Services Research Unit (PSSRU), University of Manchester and assumes that the need for Long-Term Care (LTC) facility placement is determined by two major factors: first, the care needs of individuals (demand side); and second, the availability of the community-based health and social care required to meet those needs (supply side).
The Balance of Care (BoC) approach has been applied to thousands of individuals waiting for LTC placement in 9 Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) regions across Ontario by the University of Toronto BoC research team. Findings indicate that a substantial proportion of people on the studied LTC wait lists are functionally independent in most ADLs and require limited assistance when bathing; generally have higher IADL needs; have varying degrees of cognition; and access to an informal caregiver.
When using long-term care facility costs as a comparative base, in some cases it is estimated that between one fifth and one half can be diverted from the waiting list back to the community with an integrated package of care at the same or lower cost to the health care system.
Frances Morton, a member of the BoC research team, will further explain the methodology and findings from ongoing BoC research, and some important policy implications regarding the organization and delivery of care for frail and/or cognitively impaired seniors.