Thursday, June 18, 2009

Long-Term Care & fear mongering

Previously, I have blogged about the difference between a lobby group (made up of paid members), and our Transfer Payment Agencies (with Ministry of health standards and expectations), and groups dedicated to particular causes (e.g., Elder Abuse). I have discussed the differences between for-profit and non-profitcare health care, retirement homes, and LTC (formerly 'nursing homes') in Canada. Many more family members are hiring through for-profit agencies, and caregivers have different standards than in government, or for-profit LTC homes.

CARP is now using US data to raise a flag. Firstly, Primary Care (health care by professionals) is different in the US than in Canada - as I have to reiterate. In addition, our values are vastly different. Gay marriage is legal here. We must get down to the roots of LTC issues: staffing, regulation of PSW staff and rural-urban disparities. I am shocked that CARP would feature this in their newsletter, it claims a parallel that cannot exist.

More work to be done - Challenges in Long Term Care
"An article that appeared in the NY Times in 2007 reported that elderly gay people living in nursing homes or assisted-living centers encountered disrespect or mistreatment. Such discrimination has even lead to suicide, which occurred when an elderly gay individual was removed from his floor and placed in a room with patients suffering from dementia or severe disabilities, in order to placate the protests of other residents"
Secondly, if such sexism does exist, then we need better-trained staff members who can do advocacy work on behalf of gay residents of LTC. I know that my late parents were somewhat conservative, especially in their later years, but there are many seniors in Ontario nursing homes who have an open-minded spirit of compassion and respect for one another.

The assistive living centres I know have anti-discrimination policies and high standards for levels of care, including discrimination. Despite most of our LTC centres being for-profit, they still must abide by Canadian regulations. What a red herring to be citing such a story in a Canadian newsletter. I am shocked.

Mosg of the issues in LTC and retirement homes can be resolved with better regulation of PSWs, patient advocates, and more nurses in rural areas, amongst other things. Let's focus on the real issues.

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