Overwhelming majority of Canadians looking for alternatives to long-term care: ageing report

By: Thomas I. Likness
EBC News Service

(Eagle News) — More than eight out of 10 Canadians have lost faith in the country’s ability to provide long term care for seniors, according to a report released Thursday.

The report, entitled “Pandemic Perspectives on Long-Term Care: Insights from Canadians in Light of COVID-19,” was produced by the National Institute on Ageing and the Canadian Medical Association.

“Canadians are telling us that they’ll do anything necessary to avoid having to move into a LTC home,” said Dr. Samir Sinha, one of the authors of the report.

In an online survey, more than 2,000 Canadians were asked how they felt about the state of long-term care homes for the elderly.

The survey revealed 85% of Canadians would do everything they could to avoid moving into a nursing home. When only the population aged 65 and older is considered, the number jumps to 97%.

Problems in long-term care came to the forefront when the pandemic began with outbreaks in nursing homes claiming thousands of lives.

At the time, Prime Minister Trudeau said he would continue to work with the provinces to endure long-term care centers are properly supported.

However, Canadians are not convinced, according to Sinha.

“The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has done little to restore the faith of Canadians in long-term care,” he said. “This survey shows that the Canadian public, and older Canadians in particular, have lost trust in their governments’ ability to safeguard LTC residents,”

Most people believe the problems in nursing homes predated the pandemic.

According to the survey, 81% of those asked said the challenges of long-term care were evident before the pandemic and Covid-19 only made them worse.

Government action needed

Did the first wave of the pandemic teach governments anything about the issue?

“Only 45 per cent of Canadians surveyed believe that federal, provincial, and territorial governments have learned from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and will work to ensure minimal loss of life moving forward,” the report noted.

Despite apprehensions about the ability of governments to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, the report concludes Canadians still believe that solutions to fixing Canada’s LTC systems lie in government action.

“They want governments to make up for lost time and act urgently to improve the state of long-term care, including the development of national standards and better integration of long-term care into the wider healthcare system,” said Sinha.

The survey was conducted by Ipsos online with 2,005 Canadians aged 18+ and was completed between November 27-December 1, 2020. The findings have a margin of error of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
(Eagle News Service)