No Easy Fix for Long-Term Care Home Problems Highlighted by COVID-19

OTTAWA—For years, those living and working in nursing and retirement homes across the country have struggled as overburdened caregivers tried to maintain a basic level of care and dignity for aging and ailing Canadians.

It happened behind closed doors, said Carole Estabrooks, a professor in the faculty of nursing at the University of Alberta, with people typically only knowing the state of things if they or their loved ones moved into a long−term care facility.

Then the pandemic struck, and the deficiencies turned deadly.

“It didnt just shine a light, it shone a cascade of halogen lights,” said Estabrooks, who has collected data on long−term care for 15 years.

“And the publics horrified and theyre listening now,” she said. “But my God, what it took.”

A man in his 80s died of COVID−19 in early March after becoming infected with the novel coronavirus at the Lynn Valley Care Centre in North Vancouver, B.C. It was Canadas first death related to the pandemic, and the beginning of a rash of outbreaks—and a crisis—in care homes across the country.

Deaths in long−term care facilities now account for more than 80 per cent of the roughly 4,500 deaths from COVID−19 in Canada.

“I call it benign neglect,” said Estabrooks, the scientific director for the universitys Translating Research in Elder Care, a program aimed at improving the system.

“Nobody set out to plan a system that will hurt older adults.”

That is what has happened, though, she said, and while policy−makers and politicians have vowed to find a fix, the path to change remains unclear.

While the data suggests long−term care homes across the globe have suffered unduly from COVID−19, residents in Canadas system seem to be sufferinRead More – Source

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