Ontario government failing to provide adequate home care supports, says study

Senior man in hospital bed

A recent study published in a prestigious international medical journal drives home just how broken the experience of transitioning from hospital to home care is for patients in Ontario.

Following over 700 patients through the health care system over the past 3 years, the study discovered that the three biggest problems they faced all concern publicly funded home care.

Among 52 factors, the single greatest concern across geography, age, gender and ethnic groups was “not enough publicly funded home care services to meet the need.” The second and third highest rated problems were home care supports not being in place when returning from hospital, and “having to advocate to get enough home care.”

“It is no surprise that home care is a top concern for patients,” says Marissa Lennox, CARP’s Chief Policy Officer, “A majority of our members want to continue to live at home, but need support to do so. Unfortunately, the needs of patients who require home care are not being met. People who qualify for home care are not able to access it, and those who do receive visits from care providers find there is not enough time allowed for appropriate care.”

The study was led by Dr. Tara Kiran, a family physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in conjunction with Health Quality Ontario. The team of researchers hope the findings will encourage improvements in the hospital-to-home transition—a difficult journey undertaken by 1 million patients each year in Ontario. Kiran is hopeful that Ontario’s new Health Teams will provide an opportunity to improve on these findings.