The wind of change seems to be blowing in the mind of many Canadians with respect to senior home care and home health care in general. Much like other English-speaking health care systems in other nations, a redefinition or repackaging of health care services is taking place, and it behooves Canadians to know what the repackaging is about.
Canada’s Medicare As It Is Now
Comprised of 13 interlocking provincial and territorial health insurance plans, Canadian Medicare varies in its coverage to its patients–depending on where a patient lives. Further complicating the matter a bit, senior home care and home health care agencies are made up of non-profit and for-profit private health agencies that many times do not know what services they are supposed to cover or not cover. Often times, as good as quality health care is in Canada, supplemental coverage is needed for patients; the problem rests in that few agencies and hospitals know who covers what.
One area that both home care professionals and patients agree on is that there exists a communication problem among doctors, home health care providers and the patients they serve in so dedicated a matter. In the words of one patient advocate, “As a patient, you need to know what was done to me, and what’s the next step?” This question often arises when moving patients from a hospital environment to a home-care environment.
One recent Canadian Safety-At-Home report indicated that proper communication would have prevented one in 10 of the adverse incidents undergone by patients. Moreover, more than half of those were preventable–had there been adequate communication channels at the time.
A Shift Towards Senior Care and Home Health Care
Overcrowded hospitals, advancing technologies and a growing aging population are proving to be the driving forces towards managed home care. The immense pressures to free hospital beds, and make room for new patients, are causing the breakdowns in some of Canada’s finest hospitals. While this almost rampant situation is not a hospital staff’s fault, as such, it is causing an increased awareness that perhaps home care agencies would be a viable solution.
Good News: There Is A Rainbow
Last year, an estimated 1.4 million Canadians used home care in their homes–a full 55 percent increase from the previous three years. Today, many families are finding that a “team” approach of using various senior home care services is the best way for them to go being that many times, services overlap from one agency to another.
That being said, seniors and love ones need to find out exactly what kind of care, and what services will be provided at home–before enrolling with any agency. Yes, there is much reason to be optimistic with today’s Canadian shift towards senior home care and home-based health care, and the future is increasing ever brighter.