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New survey reveals Canadians want national health care strategy for seniors


August 19, 2013
By Canadian Chiropractor staff

Aug. 19, 2013 — Nine out of 10 Canadians believe Canada needs a pan-Canadian strategy for seniors’ health care at home, hospitals, hospices and long-term facilities, according to the Canadian Medical Association’s (CMA) 2013 National Report Card on health issues.

An equal number also believe a comprehensive strategy for seniors’
health care would improve the entire system by keeping elderly Canadians
at home as long as possible, thereby lightening the load on hospitals
and long-term care facilities, said the study by Ipsos Reid, which
conducted the survey for CMA.

Eighty-nine percent of the
respondents believe a national strategy for seniors should involve
federal, provincial, territorial and municipal levels of government. And
four in five, or 78 per cent, believe the federal government has an
important role to play in developing the strategy.

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Research shows
it costs $126 a day to provide care for a patient in a long-term care
facility, versus $842 a day in a hospital. Of course, making it easier
for elderly Canadians to stay at home while getting the care they need
would be the preferred and most cost-effective option, the CMA said.

“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,” said CMA president Dr. Anna Reid.

Only
41 per cent of survey respondents believe hospitals and long-term care
facilities can handle the needs of seniors in their area who will not be
able to stay at home. The same proportion of Canadians says they are
confident in the current health care system’s ability to serve Canada’s
aging population.

The poll — conducted between July 17 and July
26 by phone among 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over — found four in five
Canadians thought their health care in retirement years was a concern.

Seventy-nine
per cent were concerned about having access to a high quality acute
care system, while 77 per cent were concerned about access to high
quality home care and long-term care.

The results show a
majority, 63 per cent, believe home and community care should be the
most important focus for governments when improving health care quality
for senior citizens.

“The anxiety Canadians have about health
care in their so-called golden years is both real and well-founded,” Dr.
Reid said. “Let there be no doubt that a national strategy for seniors
health care should be a federal priority.”

The CMA’s 2013 National Report Card also asked Canadians to grade the overall health care system in Canada.

Seventy-five
per cent of Canadians surveyed, from 2001 to 2013, gave the overall
quality of health services available an A or B grade. A similar grade
was given by 77 per cent when asked about their most recent experience
with the health care system.

Canadians’ view of the federal
government’s performance in dealing with health care was not so
positive, with the majority grading it a C or F. Only 29 per cent gave
the federal government an A or B grade.

Six in 10 or 58 per cent,
gave their health providers and health care associations an A or B
grade in dealing with health care in Canada.

The complete report is available on the CMA website.


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