Urgent Action Needed to Protect Seniors in Long-Term Care
We have a crisis in long-term care in Canada
Now and moving forward, we need a commitment from governments to eradicate the systemic vulnerabilities exposed by COVID-19 which threaten residents in long-term care. Since the coronavirus hit long-term care homes, CARP has been actively calling on government to prioritize care for seniors.View our ongoing media commentary
The status quo is unacceptable. Long-term care in Canada needs to be re-built from the ground up, with home and community care as the foundation.
COVID-19 exposed the dreadful inadequacies in our Long-Term Care. But the truth is Long-Term Care has been broken for decades. 80% of all reported COVID-19 deaths are linked to LTIC facilities both not-for-profit and for-profit.
CARP is calling for a major “culture change”. A growing number of Long Term Care facilities are now functioning as smaller residences that look and feel like home; where care is about doing things WITH residents, not FOR them; and where the families of residents are part of the team, sharing meaningful activities.
The benefits from these improvements have been remarkable. Staff sick time, aggressive incidents, the use of calming drugs, the number of hospital visits: ALL DOWN; leading to fewer deaths.
CARP demands governments commit to supporting long-term care facilities where residents feel “at home”.
To protect seniors in care homes, CARP renews our standing and urgent demands that government commit to:
- LTIC must be reimagined and recreated with an innovative, emotion-based model of care with smaller, homelike environments and well trained and supported staff who are empowered to care for the residents with compassion and that all-important ‘human touch.’
- Financial support provided by the government in support of aging with dignity should be tied to the adoption of provincial standards of care that are evidence-based, monitored, and evaluated.
- Implementation of mandatory staffing levels in long-term care facilities to reflect the changing composition of residents and better protect the frailest of the frail population
These measures would go a long way in preventing further catastrophic loss of life in residential care facilities. But fixing long-term care in our country will take more than short-term solutions.
To keep our vulnerable seniors safe, there’s no place like home.
CARP is urging governments to recognize that home care and community-based care solutions are critical to resolving the long-term care crisis.
9 in 10 CARP members tell us they want to age in place, and nearly a quarter have admitted to supplementing publicly funded home care with private alternatives.
Compared to other Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Canada spends significantly less of its long-term care spending on home and community care vs. nursing home care, ensuring the status quo remains unchallenged.
Long-term care funding allocation
|% spent on residential care (nursing homes)||% spent on home & community care|
|OECD country average||65||35|
Even before COVID-19 hit, publicly-funded home care services were rigid, rationed and difficult to access. Further, due to the high cost of private alternatives, the vast majority of home care needs in Canada could not be met without the fundamental support of unpaid family/friend caregivers, who, according to a recent University of Alberta study, deliver the health system an estimated $66 billion of care annually.
CARP is calling on governments to better support Canadians living in their homes for longer, by:
- Increasing support for front line home care, respite care, and day programs to enable aging in place
- Increasing funding and use of technology-enabled home care solutions to better support individuals living safely and autonomously
- Expanding tele-health care solutions to support patients and families, and maintain options for physicians to continue with remote consults via phone or video conference
- Ensuring all caregivers have access to financial relief through the federal Family Caregiver Tax Credit by making it refundable or a rebate
Become a CARP member today to join our fight to keep seniors safe, and empower them to choose where they age.
CARP is calling for a culture-change in long-term care. Emotion-based care is at the centre of existing innovative models.Read More
A shared approach to care
Long-term care should be included under Federal government legislation, to enable shared funding between the federal government and the provinces/territories.
Funding should be contingent on maintaining national standards of care.Read more
CARP Members speak out on long-term care
We polled our Members, collecting their thoughts and concerns about long-term care in Canada.
Their responses send a loud and clear message: change is needed now.Read the release