In-home se­niors health­care is the safer al­ter­na­tive es­pe­cially dur­ing COVID-19 pan­demic

Prairie Post (East Edition) - - FARM NEWS -


COVID-19 has no doubt taken a toll on so­ci­ety and the way Cana­di­ans live but no other de­mo­graphic has been harder hit than those over 75 years, our se­niors.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Gov­ern­ment of Canada COVID-19 statis­tics, within a few weeks of Canada’s first im­ported case of COVID-19, out­breaks were iden­ti­fied in long-term care and se­niors’ homes.

As of June 10, 2020, out­breaks re­lated to these set­tings are re­spon­si­ble for 18 per cent of cases and 82 per cent of deaths in Canada. The high mor­tal­ity as­so­ci­ated with COVID-19 in long-term care set­tings re­flects the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of this se­nior pop­u­la­tion.

Bayshore Health­Care vis­its and cares for more than 35,000 se­niors every sin­gle day in their own homes and over 245,000 home care vis­its every sin­gle week across Canada. Yet the amount of COVID-19 cases is dra­mat­i­cally lower.

Bayshore’s data shows that only

0.36 per cent of their home care clients ac­quired COVID-19, re­sult­ing in no deaths while un­der their care and only 0.1 per cent of their home care employees (or eight staff) have ac­quired COVID-19. In fact, none of their pa­tients or clients have con­tracted COVID-19 from their staff. (Fig­ure 1)

“Data clearly il­lus­trates that se­niors who live at home and re­ceive in-home care have lower COVID-19 rates than in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized care,” says Mau­reen Charlebois, Chief Nurs­ing & Clin­i­cal Of­fi­cer at Bayshore Health­Care. “Our se­niors de­serve the dig­nity of stay­ing in their own homes with ex­cel­lent re­li­able care. Trag­i­cally, COVID-19 has proven that home care isn’t just a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence, with this dis­ease, it has vastly bet­ter health out­comes.”

Ac­cord­ing to Charlebois, “home care pro­vides ev­i­denced based per­son-cen­tred care lead­ing to bet­ter health out­comes at the in­di­vid­ual level and at a sys­tem level by al­le­vi­at­ing the pres­sure on other parts of the health­care sys­tem - hos­pi­tals and long-term care homes. Our in­home health­care teams are the quiet un­sung he­roes, es­pe­cially dur­ing this COVID-19 pan­demic.”

“Not only do our in-home health­care teams care for se­niors with a myr­iad of health­care needs in­clud­ing de­men­tia, Alzheimer’s, can­cer care, and chronic dis­ease man­age­ment, they’ve also gone above and be­yond their call of duty when they stepped up to help at the on­set of the cri­sis in long-term care homes when there was no one else avail­able to help.”

Bayshore Health­Care be­gan pre­par­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion for the pos­si­bil­ity of a pan­demic even be­fore COVID-19 hit. They started with en­hanced safety pre­cau­tions, ed­u­ca­tion and im­ple­mented a strict in­fec­tion preven­tion and con­trol pro­gram de­signed to pre­vent the spread of in­fec­tion.

With the ad­vance­ment of dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy and telemedici­ne, Bayshore’s new dig­i­tal plat­forms en­abled nurses and other mem­bers of the health­care team to se­curely and con­ve­niently con­nect with se­niors and their fam­i­lies to pro­vide ad­vice, sup­port and guid­ance to help them bet­ter man­age a med­i­cal con­di­tion or sim­ply get an­swers to ques­tions.

Canada’s Na­tional 2017 Cen­sus re­vealed that there are now 5.9 mil­lion se­niors, com­pared to 5.8 mil­lion Cana­di­ans aged 14 years and un­der.ii This in­crease means that caring for se­niors and the ag­ing pop­u­la­tion is now than ever more im­por­tant.

“It is more im­por­tant now than it has ever been to have en­abling poli­cies at the Fed­eral and Pro­vin­cial level to al­low se­niors to stay in their own homes and re­ceive the care they need and de­serve,” says Charlebois.

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