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Gauging the Availability of Home Care Services

For much of the summer, medicine was the farthest thing from my mind. I was visiting my daughter and her family on the west coast, and playing with my twin grandchildren was at the top of my mind. My wife and I did take a few days to travel in southern British Columbia and visited Whistler and the Sunshine coast. The proprietor of the Bed and Breakfast we stayed in on the Sunshine coast had a mother-in-law in Vancouver who was not in great health. She complained about the difficulty in accessing home care in BC, and the limited hours available. It sounded just like Ontario.

I feel that homecare statistics in Ontario are a perfect example of the famous Mark Twain quote: “there are lies, damn lies, and then there are statistics”. We are constantly reminded in Ontario by our provincial government about the increase in total home care hours over the years. However, as a practitioner this is not evident. Much of the increase in home care hours is accounted for by acute home care to compensate for shorter hospital stays and outpatient surgery. For a frail older person requiring chronic support, the maximum amount of time from CCAC (community care access centres) has actually decreased from 15 or 20 years ago.

I would be very interested in hearing from doctors across the country as to the availability of home care services for frail elderly. Are things improving in your jurisdiction, deteriorating, or remaining stable?

Regards,
Barry Goldlist