It’s time for national standards for long-term and homecare

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This year the COVID-19 pandemic has shown we can no longer afford to ignore the long-standing issues within long-term and home care. More than 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Canada occurred in long-term care facilities, the highest proportion – by a long shot – among the 14 developed countries that track this data.

This year the COVID-19 pandemic has shown we can no longer afford to ignore the long-standing issues within long-term and home care. More than 80% of COVID-19 deaths in Canada occurred in long-term care facilities, the highest proportion – by a long shot – among the 14 developed countries that track this data. Reports from the Canadian Armed Forces detailed the tragic conditions in our long-term care homes, conditions COVID made worse, but it sounded all too familiar to those with experience in long-term care.
Add to this that Canadians are living longer and more of us are dealing with
chronic conditions and diseases as we age. By the end of this decade, those aged 65 and older will make up almost a quarter of the population. The demand on the healthcare system is only going to increase, especially for services older adults rely on.
Our healthcare system has not kept pace with Canada’s aging population, and if we do not make changes soon, we will not be equipped to meet the health needs of Canadians. It is time we include older adult care in our national health framework and start managing, funding and regulating long-term and home care in the same way as other parts of our system: with national standards tied to funding.
National standards will guarantee a uniform level of quality care, the availability of equitable and consistent services across the country, and adequate levels of funding. It will also ensure greater public accountability for government decisions related to long-term and home care.

Johannes Veenstra
MCNAB/BRAESIDE