Report should sound home care alarm bells: Michael
NDP Leader and Health Critic Lorraine Michael says a national study on seniors and home care released today should lend some urgency to the Dunderdale government’s long-promised strategy on long-term care and home care. Michael says the Health Council of Canada’s report on seniors, home care and family caregivers reflects the situation for many people in this province.
The Health Council of Canada’s report is called Seniors in need, caregivers in distress: What are the home care priorities for seniors in Canada? The study looked at data from Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, BC and Yukon.
The HCC found that seniors who need home care the most are not getting the help they need. Seniors with complex health needs (a third of those using home care, according to the study) received only a few more hours weekly than those deemed to have moderate needs. This lack of home care puts the burden on family caregivers and pushes them into burnout and health crises of their own.
About half of the seniors with complex needs in the study had caregivers who, according to the HCC, “report they are finding it difficult to continue to provide care, and that they have feelings of stress, anger, and depression.”
“This is the sort of thing we are hearing on a regular basis from people all over Newfoundland and Labrador and that the government heard during its 2010 consultations,” Michael said today. “While seniors and their families in our province weren’t part of the HCC study, I can tell you that there are many, many families in desperate straits.
Michael applauds the recommendations of the HCC report, particularly the recommendation to spend more on home care to reduce spending on long-term care.
“We know that there is a desperate need for long-term care beds in this province,” she said. “However, in many cases adequate home-care would mean people could stay at home rather than moving to a long-term care facility. This would save millions of dollars a year while still providing better support for our seniors.”
Michael continues to call on the government to release its long-awaited strategy on long term care and home care.