Home Care Ontario | Dec 18, 2017
Toronto Sun: Opinion
There is a freight train coming. We have been watching it for some time, and it will soon be here.
By 2042, only 25 years from now, Ontario’s senior population will double to 4.6 million, equivalent to nearly a third of our current population.
Our health-care system is already strained and burdened. The negative effects of this demographic shift will impact each and every one of us.
Ontario’s hospitals are overcrowded. Patients and families didn’t need the confirmation we received last week from the Ontario Hospital Association, whose submission to the province finance committee was titled “A Sector on the Brink.”
Waiting lists for getting into long-term care homes are long and growing. The responsibility of care seniors need is falling to their children and grandchildren, if they are fortunate enough to have them. Families play, as they should, an important role in keeping seniors at home for as long as possible, but they cannot be the only pillar of support. Home care is a key part of the sustainable solution to our problem.
We cannot stay on our current health-care delivery path in the face of the demographic bulge that faces us – we must use it as an opportunity to find innovative solutions to transform the system as a whole.
We need to embrace new ideas — ideas which provide comfort and care for our growing cohort of seniors. Allowing our aging population to lead fulfilling and productive lives, while receiving the care they need at home, should be a cornerstone of health-care investment.
With the right policy shifts we can lessen the strain on hospitals and long-term care facilities, keep more Ontarians in their homes and communities longer, and put patients first.
Better care delivered more efficiently benefits everyone and frees up much needed dollars for hospitals and long-term care facilities too.
Seniors want to age at home — whether independently or with assistance — for as long as possible. Their families and communities want this as well. Ensuring independence for our seniors, and peace of mind for their families, is a worthy public policy goal.
Achieving this goal will not happen without concerted government action. The benefits range from quality of life and quality of care for seniors, to financial savings for the province. There is no reason not to act.
Helping seniors stay at home or successfully return home after a hospital stay – where approximately 70% of referrals for home care come from – requires a well-run, and well-funded home care system to respond to these referrals and deliver quality care.
Health-care spending now surpasses $53 billion, and growing, annually. Yet home care spending has remained flat at just 5% of the total proportional health-care spend for the past eight years.
Frontline caregivers are the backbone of the system. It is time to invest more in home care for a long-term, sustainable solution to the challenges ahead that will actually achieve what everyone wants: Building a system that puts all patients first.
S. VanderBent, CEO