Planning for long term
People, parties wrestle with long-term care solutions
Access to long-term care is a big deal — especially for those who need it. Ask Dawna Melbourne. Her husband, Harold, is now a resident at the Dr. Charles L. LeGrow Health Centre in Port aux Basques.
He was transferred there, closer to home, after he became immobile.
Before that, he was a dementia patient who wandered. The Port aux Basques centre couldn’t accommodate him so he had to reside at a facility in Bay St. George.
That meant he was hours from home and Dawna had to travel the TCH to see her husband.
Things are much improved for both now.
“It’s 100 per cent better with him being home,” she said. “You can see the difference it has made in his overall health.”
The effects on patients, families and the health system in general may vary, but there’s no denying the need to address the shortage of long-term care facilities and beds in the province.
Seniors needing long-term care are being forced to wait.
For example, in 2014-15, the average wait time at the LeGrow Health Centre was 12.75 days. The average wait time is currently 50.5 days.
And, in the central region, there are 519 long-term care beds. Earlier this year, there were 66 people on a waiting list for one of them.
Not only are seniors waiting, some are waiting in acute care beds which puts a further burden on the system.
Out east, there is hope on the horizon.
With new facilities in St. John’s and one almost completed in Carbonear, there is some preparation for a spike in the aging population.
Part of the problem for those facing a wait is finding out exactly what’s available to whom and where.
Gord Ash on privatizing long-term care: “Whether it’s a lemonade stand or whether it’s a long-term care facility, the shareholders are in it for profit.”