The need to improve home care in Manitoba
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This article was published 10/08/2022 (296 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Throughout the pandemic, I have received concerns from constituents about home-care services provided by the province.
The concerns stem, in part, from changes made over 10 years ago, which made home care less flexible to the individual needs of those it was designed to assist. In more recent years, the concerns we hear relate to the inadequacy of services, problems with home care being delivered in a timely manner (for example, accurate mealtimes for a person with diabetes) and the poor ability to tailor services to the individual conditions of people receiving services.
It is imperative that we have improvements in home-care services, including in staffing and in training. I am aware of an individual who, in the last two years, had to be placed in a personal care home because home care was inadequate and not reliable.
I have heard from seniors that vital home-care visits for medication, feeding and hygiene are simply being skipped due to staffing issues, and in some cases, people are going days in between visits.
One individual was denied assistance with laundry and cleaning, even though recent surgery left her unable to do this herself. It is essential that home care be excellent and provide for such basic day-to-day needs.
Without adequate home care, individuals who go home after surgery may become re-injured and return to hospital. This is a poor use of resources, when receiving good-quality home care can prevent this altogether.
We must also move to a point where people can stay in their homes, to “age in place”, with fewer needing to go into long-term care. This trend is happening internationally and is providing a better option for individuals as they age. It means a system which is better for seniors, their families, and those who work in home care.
Denmark, for example, spends about two-thirds of its budget for seniors care on home care, and only one-third on long-term care. In Manitoba, we do the exact opposite. The number of people who rely on home care is expected to increase by more than 50 per cent in less than a decade, according to the Canadian Medical Association . We need to quickly move closer to the Denmark model and we need to do it by increasing support for home care.
As the MLA in River Heights, I want to ensure that people needing home care are getting what they need, and to advocate for improvements which will enable more people to age in place in their homes, rather than having to go to a long-term care home.
If you have had concerns about the quality of home care being provided, please let me know so that I can focus my efforts on achieving the changes that are needed. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 204-945-5194.
River Heights constituency report
Jon Gerrard is Liberal MLA for River Heights.