Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Please, journalists, learn the term Alternative Level of Care (ALC)

It is high time CBC stopped using this pejorative term. Wei Chen's interview with *Jeffrey Simpson, a journalist writing about health issues (another mistake), highlights the issues with public administration of tax dollars.
Journalists should not be using this terminology. As if a frail senior isn't worth the bed s/he is lying on and is of less worth than another patient. We cannot continue to uphold the lowest common denominator for patients. The lowest level of care hospitals can get away with by encouraging or demanding patients go home. This needs to be a family decision, based on real needs, and the ability of the family to deliver assistance. When frail seniors are not making good decisions about their care, family members must be consulted.

Please, journalists, learn the term Alternative Level of Care (ALC) for those who require less services than a hospital provides, but more than home care provides. They may be suitable for a Long-Term Care (LTC) placement, but too many patients are demanding they go home, and too many caregivers are suffering as a result.

The cat fur stuck to the nicotine on the walls, tables,
windows, and made them 3-dimensional.
PSWs did not clean anything. Sat for 5 hours at a time,
watching TV with the client.
Many patients demand they go home, hospitals acquiesce, family members are told to find neighbours to help with their care, and our frail seniors are cared for by family members who give up jobs, their health, pensions, while adult parents act to selfishly remain in homes, while facing terrible health issues. I cannot tell you the number of clients with open wounds, some having been infected, who insist on staying at home. Even as a trained volunteer, I am taken back. Home Care is not the place for quality palliation, mor is there access to enough pain management by those in for-profit businesses, like Bayshore Home Health, who take taxpayer dollars to assist palliative clients in their homes.

Simpson's premise, that we should be creating more specialty clinics may be a fair one, but the truth is that we have a limited number of physicians for surgeries, and limited time for these.
I cannot agree that private clinics will relieve the strain. Physicians must open up their practices and reduce ER wait times.
Physicians must step up, and improve delivery of services, but a two-tier system will not solve it.

*Jeffrey Simpson
Jeffrey Carl Simpson, OC, is a Canadian journalist. He has been The Globe and Mail's national affairs columnist for almost three decades.
In Chronic Condition, Jeffrey Simpson meets health care head on and explores the only four options we have to end this growing crisis: cuts in spending, tax increases, privatization, and reaping savings through increased efficiency. 

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