Is less really better? Eliminating 3- and 4-bed ward rooms in long-term care homes

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  1. Nadine Henningsen

    Excellent piece.
    What percentage of those waiting for LTC could be supported with increased home care services? Greater percentage of public funding directed to home-based care is a viable option for the future of long-term care services in Ontario and across the country.

  2. Susan Harrison

    It will cost more but I think a better overall long-term solution is to bring LTC facilities under the Canada Health Act. I would also say we should eliminate for-profit ownership of these facilities as well as mandate living wages. For years there has been a need for more LTC beds and this will only grow with an aging population. Provinces need to build more beds, in not-for-profit, publicly run facilities. In addition provincial standards need to improve eg. safety, infection control, only working in one facility. Ageism is alive and well in Canada and despite research on the LTC industry dating back decades, no significant improvement has taken place.

  3. Philip A Russel

    There is an alternative: Both residential and in home hospice-palliative care. Hospice-palliative care does not mean just end-of-life, but a period that can last many years where the concern is care not cure. It can mean a very full life, particularly when compared to four-bed warehousing. Compare the costs and the quality of life that can be achieved and the hospice-palliative care approach wins.
    An issue discussed far too little is the availability of caregivers. We assume that there is an unlimited supply but we currently have hospitals, seniors’ residences of all kind and in-home care agencies, government and private, all competing for a limited number of PSWs and RPNs. This will drive the cost of care up and the winners will have the deepest pockets.

    • Bob Parke

      Thank you for your comments. I would like to find ways to keep people in the community for as long as possible and to use alternatives to long term care if possible. The example of hospices is a terrific idea. They offer quality care and are cost effective.
      I also reached out to my federal and provincial politicians to encourage them to think about how we could use income supports similar to maternity leave to provide an opportunity to those who want to be caregivers for someone who needs full time care. This would be especially helpful during a pandemic and could potentially shorten waiting lists for fewer LTC beds. Also if a person is able to remain in the community their linguistic, cultural and faith needs could have a greater opportunity to be practiced as part of their daily lives.
      I am also mindful that there are residents in LTCs who are living with disabilities both physical and intellectual. We need to also consider how best to respect their dignity and worth. Thanks for reading my thoughts.

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