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CBA Article: A Call to Action for the Elderly During COVID

With the pandemic exposing failings in Canada’s long term care system we would like to share the important article: Improving long-term care in Canada, by Brigitte Pellerin, posted on the CBA website January 18, 2021.

Read the full article

A brief excerpt:

Canada’s performance among OECD countries concerning the deaths of older adults demonstrates how much Canada must improve its approach.

The year 2020 will forever be remembered for the pandemic. Nowhere has the crisis hit harder than in congregate settings for the elderly. In Canada, 80% of COVID-19 deaths occurred in long-term care homes, twice as many as in other OECD countries.

In Quebec and Ontario, particularly, reports from the military called in to help deal with the first wave of infections revealed shocking details of how we treat, or mistreat, our seniors. The federal government promised to establish a national standard for long-term care, a measure many who advocate for elders say is long overdue.

The Elder Law Section is moving a resolution urging the federal government to improve long-term care and support for older Canadians. Specifically, it wants to fast-track national quality standards, create pan-Canadian strategies for long-term care and elder abuse, improve infection prevention and control in long-term care, provide better assistance to caregivers and create a pan-Canadian disaster response for seniors.

Responsibility for long-term care is an area of provincial jurisdiction. But Brett Book of CanAge, speaking for the group that worked on the resolution, is undaunted. The Canada Health Act (CHA), he pointed out, has been eroded over the years, particularly for seniors. “Approximately 30% of Canadian health expenditures are now paid outside of public sources, placing Canada below the OECD average. COVID-19 exposed the crisis and so many seniors paid the price with their lives.”

The intention behind the resolution is to restore the intended purpose of the CHA. “We hope that provinces do not push back,” Book added. “But if they do, we welcome the challenge.”

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