A new report by the National Institute on Ageing (NIA), in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), found 86% of Canadians surveyed are concerned about the state of long-term care (LTC) in Canada in light of COVID-19.
Confidence in the system is so low, 96% of older Canadians contacted said they would do everything possible to avoid going into a LTC home.
"The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has done little to restore the faith of Canadians in long-term care. This survey shows that the Canadian public, and older Canadians in particular, have lost trust in their governments’ ability to safeguard LTC residents." — Dr. Samir Sinha, director of health policy research and co-chair of the NIA
In fact, three-quarters (73%) of Canadians surveyed believe the high number of COVID-19-related deaths in LTC homes could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner.
Though the pandemic has underscored the urgent need to address the capacity of the LTC sector and the quality of care it provides, the CMA has long argued the system was in dire need of fixing.
In 2015, the CMA launched Demand a Plan, a campaign that mobilized more than 75,000 supporters in calling for the creation of a national strategy to improve care for Canada’s aging population.
More recently, the CMA has called on the federal government to increase funding to provinces and territories through a demographic-based top-up to the Canada Health Transfer. In December 2020, the CMA also published a discussion paper calling for national standards for LTC homes across the country.
“We have a limited window to prevent future tragedies like the ones that have ripped through our long-term care facilities in the last year. The CMA will continue to work at the national level to improve collaboration and the overall quality of seniors care in Canada, including pressing for the development of pan-Canadian standards related to long-term care.” — Dr. Ann Collins, CMA president
Working alongside organizations like the NIA, the CMA will continue to urge governments to improve the state of LTC in Canada. Action is needed to restore Canadians’ faith in the system, especially those who must consider LTC options.
The report Pandemic Perspectives on Long-Term Care: Insights from Canadians in Light of COVID-19 is based on a survey commissioned by the CMA. Ipsos conducted the online survey at the end of 2020 with 2,005 participants.