10/4/10

Ottawa -- 30% increase in hospital patients waiting for LTC

The CBC reports an alarming increase in the number of hospital patients waiting for long-term care, noting that the Ottawa Hospital says the problem has increased by 30 per cent in the past five years.

Cameron Love, vice-president of the  Ottawa Hospital, pretty much captures the government's current approach:  hospitals need to assess whether patients can go home, instead of moving them towards long-term care.  Indeed, the government is reluctant to fund new long term care beds and its strategy is officially called "Aging at Home".

Not everyone thinks the strategy has been a success:  "Clearly the LHINs have bungled the Aging at Home program," said Ontario Conservative leader Tim Hudak in August.  "Despite putting a quarter of a billion dollars into the strategy, we've actually gone backwards with wait lists for long-term care homes increasing by over 4,000 people and waits for emergency rooms well in excess of provincial standards."

And, yes, so far, the results do seem slim at best. While the plan sounds good (who wouldn't want to age at home?)  my guess is that the reality is driven more by cost cutting than by a practical strategy.   Aging at home is a lot cheaper than hospitals or LTC. 


dallan@cupe.ca

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