Canada isn’t prepared for the growing number of Canadians who need long term care; we’ve reached a crisis point in every province. The government should bring long term care under the Canada Health Act, making it a publicly funded and delivered health care service accessible to everyone.
Why it matters
- The majority of residents living in long term care homes are older adults.
- Residents are entering long term care older, frailer, and with more complex conditions. Their care needs are high.
- Wait lists for long term care are lengthy. The construction of new facilities isn’t keeping pace with Canada’s growing aging population. Seniors can’t access the appropriate care they need to live with dignity and respect.
- This also leads to overcrowding, increased wait times, and decreased quality of care in our hospitals.
- Long term care homes are chronically understaffed. The recruitment and retention of staff are major problems. Workers are low-paid, have heavy workloads, and experience high levels of stress, burnout, and violence.
- Canada isn’t prepared for the growing needs of seniors who need long term care; we’ve reached a crisis point in every province.
- Canadians want the federal government to take action: 9 in 10 Canadians want the federal government to lead a national long term care strategy with benchmarks to address inequities in access and funding for long term care.
How current policy is falling short
- Long term care currently falls outside the scope of our public health care system.
- Residents pay significant out-of-pocket costs for a bed in long term care. The costs vary depending on where you live and whether you live in a private or public home.
- The benchmark for quality long term care is 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day, however, no province or territory meets this standard of care.
- The majority of long term care homes in Canada are private, for-profit entities. Compared to publicly run homes, they’re more expensive, have lower staffing levels, deliver poorer quality of care, and don’t reinvest profits in facility improvements.
What should be done
- Bring long term care under the Canada Health Act, making it a publicly funded and delivered health care service accessible to everyone.
- Provide dedicated federal funding to the provinces and territories for long term care as part of the Canada Health Transfer.
- Ensure funding is provided to public, non-profit long term care homes.
- Make funding conditional on the provinces and territories meeting a national standard of 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident per day.
- Increase the number of public long term care beds.
- Increase staffing in long term care homes to decrease staff workloads and improve quality of care.
- Enhance education and training opportunities for long term care workers to help improve resident health and quality of life.