Let’s Fix Long-Term Care (LTC)
It’s 2022 and the pandemic continues. Thankfully, close to 90% of Canadians are vaccinated, reducing their likelihood of hospitalization and death. There are anti-vaxxers and others who are strongly against the government, at any level, telling them what they can and can not do, restricting their mobility, their income, their lives. While vaccinations have never been contentious in the past, the current rhetoric, propagated by social media and mainstream media reporting on it, has exacerbated the issue. Citizens, fed up with quarantines, travel restrictions and access to retailers and restaurants, have taken to the streets to voice their discontent. Peaceful protest is encouraged; however, many use the opportunity to spread misinformation and havoc.
While only 10% have not been vaccinated, this group represents more than 50% of hospital admissions. Rooms occupied by unvaccinated COVID patients are not available to others. More importantly, innocent, vaccinated folks are prevented from obtaining life-saving cancer treatment, prevented from pain reliving and mobility essential orthopedic surgeries, and consequently increasing deaths, not from COVID, but from cancer or other illnesses DUE to the displacement caused by the COVID-positive, unvaccinated.
We have not done a good job. As a society, governments were not prepared, still do not follow the science, and have politicized an otherwise health-based epidemic. This has fueled resentment and distrust by the population who elected them to lead. Politicians are polling at the lowest numbers ever seen. While 90% of the population have complied with all requests, vaccinations and lockdown mandates, our collective debt has skyrocketed and discontent, rallies and protests are growing. Something has to change. Perhaps, we can start with helping our most vulnerable.
Focussing on our long-term care segment and developed in compliance with Health Standards Organization (HSO), Standards Council of Canada (SCC) and International Society for Quality in Health Care (ISQua) standard development requirements, a new a new draft of CAN/HSO 21001:2022 Long-Term Care Services has been prepared. Why?
…the risk of dying from COVID-19 was found to be 73.7 times greater among older Canadians living in LTC and retirement homes than in their own private dwellings at the outset of the pandemic.
Setting the standard for care of our aging population, the fastest growing demographic in the world, should be a priority. Governments must heed the advice provided by over 18,000 Canadians and stakeholders, our experts, our scientists, our caregivers and health care providers. This new standard is a great start, but it needs a commitment, an implementation timetable from politicians.
Happily, the new standard strengthens the definition of a caregiver: A person or persons chosen by a resident to participate in the resident’s ongoing care.
In the USA: At $470 billion in 2013, the value of unpaid caregiving exceeded the value of paid home care and total Medicaid spending in the same year.
It is inhumane not to s(p)end resources and personnel to care for our seniors. It is inhumane to spend billions on healthcare and not be able to support more than 25 ICU patients at a major hospital. It is inhumane to expect citizens to believe politicians that state N95 Masks should not be worn by teachers and then prevent them from wearing them. Citizens are smarter than that. Autonomy, dignity, privacy are also human rights.
Want to help? Provide your feedback on the draft standard at: https://healthstandards.org/public-reviews/long-term-care-services/
-  Sepulveda, E. R., Stall, N. M., & Sinha, S. K. (2020). A comparison of COVID-19 mortality rates among long-term care residents in 12 OECD countries. Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, 21(11), 1572-1574. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jamda.2020.08.039
-  https://www.caregiver.org/resource/caregiver-statistics-demographics/