March 10, 2017 – CARP’s long-term care facility survey was completed by over 3800 of its members from every province and territory, except for Nunavut. It was conducted by e-mail from February 4th, 2017 to March 5th, 2017.
The majority of CARP members who responded have had direct experience with long-term care facilities. Almost 70% have helped someone else find and select a long-term care facility, or “regularly” visited a friend or relative in a long-term care facility during the last 15 years.
CARP members are dissatisfied with long-term care in Canada. When asked to rate the quality of long-term care in their province, only 17% said it was good, very good, or excellent; 37% said it was poor or very poor. Of almost four thousand respondents, only fourteen rated long-term care facilities in their province as “excellent.” Ratings were relatively consistent across provinces with slightly better results from New Brunswick and Manitoba.
This graph shows provincial averages. Participants Rated care from 1 (very poor) to 5 (excellent)
CARP members have little faith in long-term care facilities’ oversight and regulation. Less than 20% of members said that they thought it would be easy to file a complaint about a long-term care facility with the provincial oversight body. Additionally, less than 20% said that they agree or strongly agree that their concerns would be addressed if they filed a complaint about a long-term care facility with the regulatory body in their province.
CARP members are also very clear that access to long-term care facilities should be available to anyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. Over 90% of respondents said that they agree (43%) or strongly agree (50%) with this statement. Moreover, 86% of CARP members think that it is unacceptable for those who urgently need a spot in a long-term care facility to be put on the same waiting list as those who face less-urgent situations.
CARP Members Strongly Endorse Accountability and Regulatory Oversight
We asked respondents whether facilities that fail to provide the services necessary should face consequences including escalating fines, criminal charges, closure, and expropriation. Most of those measures were endorsed by 85-90% of the members.
Members support regulation that provides standards of decency to their residents. Regulations mandating single rooms for residents, specified staffing levels (for both medical and support staff), clear communication to residents and/or their loved ones about residents’ rights, clear communication about the procedure for filing complaints, and oversight using random inspections were all endorsed by more than 75% of respondents; many of these were endorsed by 85-90% of respondents.
CARP Members want Action on Dementia-Related Issues
Resident-on-resident violence is the term used to describe violent or aggressive behaviors by residents in long-term care homes that target other residents. In most incidents of resident-on-resident violence, the aggressor suffers from dementia. The victim often has dementia as well. While aggressive behaviors are a common symptom of dementia they can be substantially reduced by providing the proper environment and support.
CARP members told us resident-to-resident violence is a real concern. Even after we asked members to consider all the other advocacy priorities that CARP is pursuing, more than 70% still said that they were “a lot” or “extremely” concerned.
CARP members want long-term care facilities to work to prevent resident-to-resident violence, including tracking and reporting incidents, separating more aggressive residents into separate areas of the facilities with specially trained staff, providing each resident with private space when they need it, mandating that facilities report resident-to-resident violence that results in injuries to the police, and providing information about rates of resident-to-resident violence to current and potential residents and/or their loved ones.
CARP Members want a Funded Dementia Strategy
CARP members want their government to commit to developing comprehensive and integrated solutions to the challenges posed by rapidly increasing rates of dementia. Over 96% of respondents said that they agree (25%) or agree strongly (71%) that their provincial government should commit to developing a comprehensive dementia strategy. Even after we asked them to consider all the other programs that the provincial government is responsible for, 85% said that they wanted the government to both develop and fully fund a dementia strategy in their province. Less than 2.5% of respondents said that they disagreed or disagreed strongly with developing and fully funding a dementia strategy.
CARP Members Provided Extensive and Valuable Additional Feedback
Beyond generously taking their time to respond to last month’s very detailed survey questions, almost 1700 respondents provided input by writing out additional text comments. Some of these were straightforward, helpful suggestions (e.g., several members recommended that we increase the font size and change the font colour to make the survey easier to read, a suggestion you will see implemented in this month’s survey). Others shared thoughtful recommendations for additional policies to consider. Still others shared heartfelt, and at times even heart-wrenching stories, providing us an important glimpse into the day-to-day experiences that drive our policy advocacy.
We’d love to share your stories to help drive political change. As surveys are anonymous, we don’t know how to contact you. If you shared – or are willing to share – a story with us and you will are also willing to speak to the media, please let us know at [email protected]
We also received approximately equal numbers of notes thanking us for putting together a comprehensive survey, and notes recommending that the survey be shorter in the future. Designing a survey that investigates important, interesting and complicated questions, while also limiting the time required by respondents is a delicate balance, which we continually struggle to get just right. We want to take the opportunity to thank those of you who complete our surveys. Your responses guide our policy asks and demonstrate to political leaders that we have broad, non-partisan support for the issues that we choose to fight for. Thanks for your continued commitment.