Analysis paralysis in senior care

Report out today finds that delivery of care, especially home care, is declining sharply

We all typically believe 'the government' is actively taking care of the needs of our aging population, whether you view the world of healthcare at the federal level, or by provincial jurisdiction.

But articles like the one in today's Province — Access to Care for B.C. Seniors Shrinking as their Numbers Grow are revealing, and in many ways, shockingly clear that at least at the provincial level, we could all be in trouble.

Reporter Elaine O'Connor writes about the reality seniors areFrom "Caring for BC's Aging Population: Improving Health Care for All", Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives beginning to experience in their communities as their numbers grow exponentially (as expected, I might add). Not enough planning or deployment of healthcare services or resources have been put in place across the province of British Columbia, whether in the home or the community. Rather than addressing their needs with proactive measures, BC continues to rely on delivering the most reactive, expensive and ineffective form of healthcare — the hospital bed.

The numbers and analysis come from the Centre for Policy Alternatives, and their new report Caring for B.C.’s Aging Population: Improving Health Care for All.

It amazes me to see feature after feature, splashed across the newspapers and on our nightly news, recognizing that the future of our parents' healthcare lacks a sustainable solution, while our government and its health authorities fail to take commensurate action — forceful action, expedited with thesense of urgency this issue deserves. Because it's not just about our parents' healthcare, it's about standards of healthcare we're setting up for ourselves.

Is it analysis paralysis?  If so, why are our health authorities paralyzed, with so much at stake? Is it concern for liability, and all the risks associated with making big changes in a fluid, human system? 

Or is the government misusing healthcare funding overall, such that more time and attention goes to salaries for administrative positions that are far removed from the front lines of healthcare delivery? 

Whatever the reason this article is very alarming.

Conversely, I'm encouraged by these articles when I see that people "get it", like the former chair of the Premier’s Council on Aging and Seniors’ Issues, Dr. Patricia Baird.

She recognizes the role played by homecare in the healthcare realm as a critical piece of the cycle of care in a person's life, in a family, and in the community. "Something's happening there", she says, when referring to keeping people in their home longer, and helping what she calls 'independents' live their lives outside the more expensive institutional and community-based programs.

She gets it. Something is happening. O'Connor gets it to, with the timing of this article during the lazy, hazy days of summer, when issues are so easy to put on the back burner.

But not many other people get it. Read the article, and then the report. 

And then talk to your local MLA about shaking off the paralysis, and how we can take action to reverse the course of inaction.