Press Releases

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Study suggests residential care premature for many seniors

Supports enhanced home care approach: WRHA

July 11, 2017 - A report released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) suggests that approximately one-third of seniors entering long term residential care could potentially live at home with appropriate support.

The report, "Seniors in Transition: Exploring Pathways Across the Care Continuum", states that approximately one in five (22 per cent) of seniors who enter residential care have "low to moderate" care needs and could potentially be supported at home. Of the jurisdictions contributing to the study: Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon and Manitoba (WRHA only), the number was lowest in British Columbia (15 per cent) and highest in Manitoba (33 per cent).

"The report validates what we're seeing - that a number of seniors are being prematurely placed into residential care when there could be better options for them," said Gina Trinidad, Chief Operating Officer, Community Health Services and Long Term Care. "Supporting seniors in the community helps them sustain a higher quality of life, avoid unnecessary hospital stays and perhaps even prevent long term care placement entirely. The approach also improves patient flow, ensuring hospital beds are available for individuals that are acutely ill. Matching patient need to the right patient care environment is critically important, and what we're seeing is that the right care environment for many seniors is the community."

Trinidad emphasized that long term care is the right choice for some, but not all, seniors. This is especially true of those assessed in hospital, from where, according to CIHI, a senior is over six times more likely to be admitted to residential care than a senior who receives that assessment in the community. The evidence, says Trinidad, supports the WRHA's proposed implementation of enhanced home care services.

"We want to strengthen our community resources so that seniors who are able to live in the community can do so for as long as possible. It not only promotes a better quality of life for those with low to moderate care needs, it can improve overall health outcomes, too."

The WRHA enhanced home care plan would see an increase in specialized resources to provide short-term intensive home care and community-based supports.

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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
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