Is It Too Much to Ask of the Incompetents Who Run this Country and Our Provinces?

 

Remember this time last year when we were shocked at the plight of nursing home patients dying from Covid-19? 

Oh boy, that was just the worst. Things were going to change for sure, you betcha.

Among our peer nations, Canada clings stubbornly to the worst record for nursing home deaths. Yes, we are the worst, the bottom of the lot. We were last year. We still are today. The worst.

Now, as the country seems poised to plunge into a third wave with far more lethal variants of the coronavirus, we learn that we did as poorly in the second wave as we did in the first. 

The study [by the Canadian Institute for Health Information] found that the proportion of deaths in nursing homes represented 69 per cent of Canada's overall COVID-19 deaths, which is significantly higher than the international average of 41 per cent.

In Canada, between March 2020 and February 2021, more than 80,000 residents and staff members of long-term care homes were infected with the coronavirus. Outbreaks occurred in 2,500 care homes, resulting in the deaths of 14,000 residents, according to the report.

This is nothing new. Substandard care and needless deaths have been a feature of Canada's long term care homes for more than half a century. Every now and then something flares up and we're promised all will be made well and then - nothing happens.

In the 70s I looked into a spate of suicides among newly-incarcerated patients in Ottawa long term care homes. I spoke with medical staff. I got information from the Canadian Penitentiary Service and the Department of National Defence. The reality was appalling. Prison inmates got a far better deal. Ditto for prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions. 

For our elderly, nothing changes.

If you think there's nothing that can be done, you're wrong. Best of all, the legwork has already been done by an Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety

The overarching change the commissioners call for is a philosophical one, shifting to a rights-based approach from a ration-driven one.

The approach proposed by the Australian commission is legislative, creating an Aged Care Act that enshrines the right to universal access to care. The equivalent in Canada would be making long-term care and home care “medically necessary” services under the terms of the Canada Health Act.

The commission says long-term care should shift from large prison-like institutions to a “small household model of accommodation.” (Both Australia’s and Canada’s systems have their roots in the penal system, not the health system.)

The Australian report repeats an oft-heard cry to shift way more resources to home care. Australia has a wait list of more than 100,000 people for home care; Canada doesn’t even bother counting, but the number is likely as high. Those on wait lists for home care end up being funnelled to long-term care homes or even hospitals, and rarely return home.

So how do we pay for all this?

In Australia, the two commissioners were divided on this contentious issue. One said there should be a separate tax; Australians pay a medicare levy of 1 per cent to 1.5 per cent of income. The aged-care levy would be another 1 per cent. The other commissioner suggested a “productivity commission” be established to determine adequate funding. The committee would determine how much money is needed to provide the legislated standard of care.

Now if only we could find a prime minister willing to take on the hard issues. 

Comments

  1. We, the elderly are the 'Disposables"

    TB

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your fate is often in the hands of your loved ones, TB. If one's children disengage, if they stop advocating for their parents, stop visiting them and no longer keep an eye on their care, the underpaid staff often follow suit. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are some good retirement homes out there but few of us can afford $6000 per month.
    Saving for such a future is also problematic with minimum hour jobs and high RRSP fees charged by Canadian saving institutions.
    If we think we have issues now it will become much worse in the future.

    TB

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the generations to follow will face harsher challenges.

      Delete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We were quietened by the impression that, at the least, our guys were doing a better job of it than Trump.

    The long term care racket operates in common cause with angels of death in the medical profession through self-serving interpretation of principles and selective application of protocols. Without an attentive family member advocate, the elderly client doesn't have a chance once a requirement for intervention is questioned. It happens every day. In the industry, it's routine. Overcoming the indolence of the angels is hard enough when you don't have to deal with this alliance. Our political leaders will never take on the challenge.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Judging by how the pols responded to the outrage over nursing home care as the first wave of Covid 19 swept through these facilities I agree that trust in them is misplaced.

      Delete
  6. Perhaps modern day economics is basing its salvation upon the inheritance $$ of the very elderly they have little respect for.
    That inheritance was made with real growth from bridges and roads built, products supplied homes , not houses, built.
    Today's fortunes are made with pure speculation be it the stock markets ,that dont make sense or , futures,the Bitcoin phenomenon etc.

    TB




    ReplyDelete
  7. .. Via Twitter I am on record re the atrocity of LTC .. Long Term Care
    Doug Ford et al can get stuffed re the 'Iron Ring' - 'Three pronged strategy' blah woof blah blah.. He gets a throat punch if he ever crosses my path.

    I hang my head in absolute shame as a Canadian..
    We are 'World Class killers of Seniors' ..

    I hang my head again..

    I ask 'when did we strip Seniors of their basic fundamental rights ?'
    Who dares to tell a senior they cannot step out for fresh air ? Or that their loved ones cannot see or visit them ? How did this devolution in fundamental freedom get stuffed in a bag ? This is so f'kd I could scream.. I probably will.. Yes I will scream. I have no parents, never really did.. so 'no skin in the game' as they say. Which only allows me to load up all guns firing - raking fire for how we let this travesty happen to Seniors and their families.. 'Prepare to Board' !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Commission's observation that LTC has its roots in the penal system, not the health care system, is chilling but true. 50 years ago I compared the requirements of Ontario's Extended Care Nursing Home Act to the regulation standards of the Canadian Penitentiary Service and found that criminal prisoners got a better deal than aged prisoners, those we warehouse in nursing homes.

      Delete
  8. .. Via Twitter I am on record re the atrocity of LTC .. Long Term Care
    Doug Ford et al can get stuffed re the 'Iron Ring' - 'Three pronged strategy' blah woof blah blah.. He gets a throat punch if he ever crosses my path.

    I hang my head in absolute shame as a Canadian..
    We are 'World Class killers of Seniors' ..

    I hang my head again..

    I ask 'when did we strip Seniors of their basic fundamental rights ?'
    Who dares to tell a senior they cannot step out for fresh air ? Or that their loved ones cannot see or visit them ? How did this devolution in fundamental freedom get stuffed in a bag ? This is so f'kd I could scream.. I probably will.. Yes I will scream. I have no parents, never really did.. so 'no skin in the game' as they say. Which only allows me to load up all guns firing - raking fire for how we let this travesty happen to Seniors and their families.. 'Prepare to Board' !!

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  10. "Now if only we could find a prime minister willing to take on the hard issues. "

    Like the DISTRIBUTION of vaccines, LTC falls under provincial jurisdiction. Alas.

    In Ontario, the former premier who privatized LTC is a millionaire on the Board of the biggest private LTC chain.

    Not sure of the BC details but ya, the BC Libs are the likely culprits.

    In neither BC of Ontario, have the 'progressive' successors fixed much of the vandalism left to them in health care or elsewhere.

    But sure, let's blame the current regime in Ottawa.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Canada Health Act gives the prime minister considerable sway over the provinces, NPoV. You might want to take a look at it.

      Delete
    2. Let me expand on that point, NPoV. A fundamental flaw in LTC is that it hasn't been treated as a healthcare matter. That has allowed the provinces to treat it as their exclusive preserve. If a prime minister ever had an opportunity to convinced the Canadian public that long term care should fall within the rubric of healthcare it is Justin Trudeau in 2021. Bring it under the umbrella of the Canada Health Act which would allow the feds to prescribe standards and, through fund transfers, enforce compliance.

      At times you give me the feeling you don't read these posts through.

      And, for his failure to act on Long Term Care after these disastrous pandemic months, this prime minister deserves to be criticized even if you don't like it.

      Delete

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