Care Closer to Home
Ensuring older Canadians have access to person-centered, high quality, and integrated care as close to home as possible by providers who have the knowledge and skills to care for them.
Currently older Canadians constitute about 16% of our population, but account for nearly half of our health and social care systems costs. Medicare, our national health insurance system for doctors and hospitals, was established over 50 years ago when the average age of a Canadian was 27 and when most Canadians didn’t live beyond their 60s. Our population has changed yet our health care system has not fully adapted to meeting the needs of an ageing population. The majority of Canadians now see access to supportive and palliative care in or close to their homes, and a robust home care system, as top national priorities. We now need to focus on strengthening our Canada Health Act and the Canadian Health Transfer to ensure Canadians can feel confident that our health care system will be ready to meet their needs.
To ensure current and future providers will have the knowledge and skills needed to provide Canadians the right care, in the right place, at the right time by the right provider, our national educational and accreditation bodies for all caring professions including doctors, nurses, social workers should mandate training around the care of the elderly in the same was as they do for other age groups such as children.
The Federal Government and the Federal Ministry of Health can work with Canada’s provinces, territories to enable this pillar of activities in a variety of ways.
- Ensuring Older Canadians have Access to Appropriate, High Quality Home and Community Care, Long-Term Care, Palliative and End-of-Life Services
Ensuring older Canadians have access to high quality home and community care, long-term care, palliative and end-of life services as well as medications when and wherever needed, can become a focus and priority of a new Canada Health Transfer, that ties increases in federal support to expected performance improvements. Read more on this opportunity in Evidence Brief #8.
- Ensuring Older Canadians have Access to Care Providers that are Trained to Specifically Provide the Care they Need
Ensuring that Canadians have access to care providers from all professions that are trained to specifically provide the care older Canadians will need, in a culturally sensitive way, is an area that our national educational and care accreditation bodies can be encouraged to prioritize.Read more on this opportunity in Evidence Brief #9.
- Developing Standardized Metrics and Accountability Standards to Enable a National Seniors Strategy
Ensuring that we stay on track in retooling our health care systems to meet the needs of an ageing population will require that Canadians, along with our health system funders and planners, have access to high quality information that can help us track our performance in meeting our collective goals. Establishing national metrics, information collection and reporting systems through agencies like the Canadian Institutes for Health Information (CIHI), can allow us to link funding to performance and better support all areas of the nation in meeting our collective goals. Read more on this opportunity in Evidence Brief #10.