Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Non-institutional senior-care strategy wanted: poll

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CALGARY -- A poll released by the Canadian Medical Association says most people want a national strategy for seniors health care that includes an emphasis on keeping them in their homes as long as possible.

The Ipsos-Reid poll, done annually as part of the association's report card on health issues, said 93 per cent of those surveyed indicated any such plan should address care at homes, hospitals, hospices and long-term facilities.

An equal number suggested the entire system could be improved by keeping seniors at home as long as possible, thereby lightening the load on hospitals and nursing homes.

"The results of this year's CMA report card send a clear and direct message to policy-makers and public office-holders that all levels of government need to act to address the demographic tsunami that is heading toward the health-care system," association president Dr. Anna Reid said.

Reid said research shows it costs $126 a day to provide care for a patient in long-term care versus $842 a day in a hospital. But making it easier for seniors to stay at home while getting the care they need would be the preferred and most "cost-effective option," she said.

The poll, conducted between July 17 and July 26 by phone with 1,000 Canadians, has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

Other results from the poll found 89 per cent of those surveyed believed a national approach to seniors care should involve federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government. And 78 per cent suggested the federal government has an important role to play in developing a strategy.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 19, 2013 A7

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