Long-term care needs improvements but at what cost? One report states that the government would have to more than double spending in long term care to carry out a number of improvements exposed during the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak
Spending across the country to make these improvements would have to increase to $13.7 billion each year, yes you read that right $13.7 billion according to the newest released report, along with costs growing by 4.1% per year following that due to the aging population to get ready for the baby boomers when the care is needed.
In the 2019-20 year, the government in Canada spent $13.6 billion on long-term care facilities.
This report all came about at the request of the Green MP Paul Manly, who has proposed Motion 77 (M-77) which proposes a number of changes to long-term care in Canada. Some of the provisions proposed are to providing long term care for anyone who will need it, increasing pay and benefits for long term care workers, mandating that 4 hours at a minimum of direct care per resident per day and to increase spending on home care to 35% of the total spending on long term care to try and keep people in their homes longer.
“The number of residents in long-term care is expected to rise due to population growth, population aging, and changing socioeconomic circumstances of the elderly,” the report says.
The rise in demand for long-term care is expected to raise the cost of the proposed changes to $17.5 billion by the 2025-26 year.
There are 205,000 people in Canada that lived in long-term care in the 2019-20 year, with a growing number of 52,000 on waiting lists.
So who is going to pay for this needed increase in spending? The report says most of the cost of any increase in spending will be on the provinces.
“We assume the direct cost would be primarily borne by provincial and territorial governments, although federal transfers could be increased to cover a portion of the incremental costs,” it says.
Thousands of Canadians died in long-term care homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, leading to these calls for changes. Something different needs to happen to prevent anything like this from happening to our seniors again. During the first wave of the pandemic, March to August 2020, long-term care residents made up over 80 % of all COVID-19 pandemic deaths, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information.
Earlier this year, the federal government announced that it would spend $3 billion over 5 years to create new standards for improvements in long-term care across Canada.
Of the $13.6 billion governments did spend in the 2019-20 year, $13.2 billion was provincial spending.
Do you agree with the spending needed and do you think it will help make the necessary changes needed in long-term care?