My last 3 blogs have highlighted some of the challenges we are currently facing in our Long Term Care sector. The bottom line is this: there are not enough residential placement beds to address the current and growing demand for those individuals whose care needs can no longer be met within their own home setting.
The answer is not simply an increase in beds but also providing the necessary care and support to residents who occupy these beds. This includes providing a standardized and reasonable ratio of staff to residents to ensure access for individualized 1:1 attention and care. Most critically, staff require additional hands as well as training to deal with residents who exhibit behavioral challenges related to dementia.
In November 2017, Dr. Hoskins, who is now stepping down as Health Minister, unveiled a New Action Plan called “Aging With Confidence”.
In terms of promises directed towards supporting seniors requiring intensive supports (Long Term Care), several areas for improvement were identified including:
- Modernizing Long Term Care (LTC) homes– including eliminating 4 bed wards
- Reducing the wait time for LTC – creating 5,000 new beds by 2022 and will create 30,000 more over next decade
- More staffing and support in LTC- increasing nursing hours, PSW hours and specialized behaviourial training and end of life care. A recommendation of an increase to 4 hours PSW care daily
- Promoting innovation
- Culturally appropriate LTC
- Strengthening safety in LTC
- Strengthening the office of the OPGT
- Improved end of life care- more hospice beds closer to home
All of these initiatives are needed now for a system in crisis; unfortunately the implementation of this appears to be slow and evidence of these improvement are not yet apparent. Have you seen anything that you think is an improvement?
We need to be able to think in broader terms, and consider changes such as dementia only care residences, settings that provide a village- like community, closer proximity of day care settings and the list continues. For most of us, LTC is considered to be at the end of the journey. I know that is not where I want to spend the last chapter of my life if things continue the way they are going. We need to continue to put pressure on the government to do what is right for all of us as we grow older. We deserve better.