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.
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.