Nearly half of CARP Action Online readers agree with “first available bed policy”

Nearly half of CARP Action Online readers agree with the thrust of the first available bed policy in long term care placement from hospital, while somewhat fewer think patients should be allowed to wait in hospital until a long term placement of their choosing is available.

The vast majority agree hospitals should be allowed to charge for hospital beds being occupied by patients who have been offered a long term care placement, the preferred amount being one equal to that being charged by local long term care facilities.

There is agreement that more funds for home care are a priority in the future, along with funding for new long term care facilities. Of several innovative ideas for improvements to the healthcare system, CARP members agree seniors should be empowered to decide what level and kind of care they receive at the end of their lives.

When presented with three options for placement post-acute care, close to half (47%) said patients should be discharged to the first available bed, then choose a preferred facility later. Somewhat fewer (41%) said the patient should be allowed to remain in acute care until a preferred placement was available, while relatively few (12%) said patients should be allowed to remain in acute care until fit to go home.

The wide majority (87%) agree hospitals should be able to charge a daily fee for beds occupied by those who have already been offered a placement, but are waiting for one of their choice. It is agreed by two thirds that the amount charged should be equivalent to daily charges at local LTC facilities (66%), about one fifth think the amount should be less than this (19%) and fewer think hospitals should be able to charge what they please to clear the beds (15%).

When presented with various choices for long term care funding, the plurality opt for more funding for home care (41%), followed closely by funding for new LTC facilities (33%). About one-in-seven think the priorities are either maintaining and improving existing LTC facilities or funding for more staff at existing facilities (13% each).

Readers of CARP Action Online are presented with a list of innovative suggestions for improving long term care in Canada. The option attracting the most interest is empowering seniors to decide for themselves what level of care and intervention they want in the event of an accident or terminal condition (43%). This was followed by funding for full-time, well-trained, well-paid in-home care assistants (28%). Fewer than one-in-seven opted for more funding for hospices and palliative care (14%), more emphasis on treating the terminally ill at home (9%) and research into assisted in-home living technologies (6%).

Survey results are based on a self-selected sample of 650 members of CARP who received the organizations online newsletter. Results can be said to be accurate within 4%, either up or down, at the 95% confidence level. That is, if all recipients of CARP Action Online were asked these questions, their answers would be within 4% of those shown here, 19 out of 20 times asking the identical question.