New Study Shows Canadians are Concerned about the Long Term Care Needs of Seniors

Canadian Alliance for Long-Term Care calls for all national parties to put forward their plans to ensure the long-term care needs of seniors are being met.

CHARLOTTETOWN, Aug. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - An alarming new poll finds that Canadians are overwhelmingly concerned about the ability of Canada's long-term care system to care for seniors when living at home is no longer possible. More than 9 in 10 Canadians are concerned that patients are waiting too long for placement into long-term care homes; that staffing levels are not adequate; and that there will not be the capacity to provide the level of care needed by seniors with dementia in long-term care homes.

The poll, commissioned by Nanos Research for the Canadian Alliance for Long-Term Care (CALTC) at the end of July, was released as leaders from Canada's long-term care sector met in Charlottetown to develop strategies on how to raise awareness of the challenges facing seniors in long-term care in Canada.

"We need to do better as a nation to prepare for the growing needs of our seniors in long-term care," said Candace Chartier, Chair of CALTC. "Too often the answer we hear from governments across Canada is that 'we'll invest in home care or prevention strategies.' The reality is that our seniors who live in long-term care homes require care 24 hours a day. They can no longer live at home."

The survey also asked Canadians about their confidence in Canada's long-term care system to care for them in the future, and found that less than 2 in 10 Canadians in all categories believe that Canada is prepared for the growing needs of seniors who need long-term care, especially those with dementia.

"It is certainly fitting that we're meeting in Charlottetown where our forefathers sowed the seeds of confederation," said Bob Nutbrown, a member of the PEI Nursing Home Association. "Caring for our seniors is one of the most important things we can do as a society, and according to this survey, Canadians want government to do more."

When asked to choose between delaying additional investments until government's budget woes improve or to invest now, almost 80% believe that due to the aging population that we need to invest immediately.

"All of the long-term care leaders meeting today are frustrated that none of the political parties in the middle of this election campaign are talking about the challenges facing our seniors in long-term care," said Chartier. "We're calling on them to start talking about what's important to Canadians."

CALTC is federally incorporated and the leading voice representing long term care providers that deliver publicly-funded health care services to seniors across Canada. CALTC members represent long term care homes that deliver quality care to Canada's most vulnerable seniors every day.

About the Research

Nanos Research surveyed 1,000 Canadians between July 18th and July 22nd, and is accurate to 3.1 percentage points plus or minus, 19 times out of 20. The survey can be found at nanosresearch.com

Key findings:

  • When asked to rank the area in health care of most concern to them personally, more Canadians declared long-term care their first or second priority than the other options presented to them. (wait times, mental health, home care, national pharmacare).
  • 93% are concerned or somewhat concerned that patients are waiting too long for placement in a long-term care home.
  • 91% are concerned or somewhat concerned that homes are not being properly staffed to meet the needs of seniors;
  • 91% are concerned or somewhat concerned about the high level of support needed by seniors diagnosed with dementia.
  • 91% are concerned or somewhat concerned that there won't be enough long term care beds to the meet the future needs.

Canadians have very little confidence that the health care system will be able to deal with the growing needs of seniors in the future:

  • Only 2 in 10 believe there will enough staff to provide care to seniors when they need it.
  • Less than 2 in 10 are confident that hospitals and long-term care homes will be to handle the needs of Canada's aging population.
  • 1.5 in 10 are confident that long-term care homes will be prepared for the rising number of Canadians living with dementia.

Canadians want the federal government to take action to help ensure that seniors are getting the care they need in long-term care:

  • 93% believe for the federal government to work with the provinces to ensure that Canadians have access to the same level and quality of long term care regardless of where they live in Canada.
  • 92% believe the federal government should ensure that long-term care homes are prepared for the rising number of seniors with dementia.
  • 89% believe the federal government should lead a national long term care strategy with benchmarks to address inequities in access and funding for long term care.
  • 85% believe the federal government should lead the development of a comprehensive, national dementia strategy.

 

SOURCE Canadian Alliance for Long Term Care

For further information: Patrick Nelson, patrick.nelson@santishealth.ca, 416-602-4770

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