CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — P.E.I.’s getting older inhabitants might overwhelm the capability inside present long-term care services with no important shift of the province’s assets into homecare, a senior civil servant informed members of a legislative standing committee on July 29.
In a presentation earlier than the standing committee on well being and social growth, Deborah Bradley, assistant deputy minister of well being, informed MLAs the province might want to improve the variety of long-term care beds by 30 per cent if no main adjustments are made within the supply of take care of seniors.
Bradley spoke earlier than the committee concerning the province’s dementia technique.
The answer, she mentioned, includes shifting health-care assets from long-term care to homecare.
“The aim is for sufferers with dementia, to allow them to stay at dwelling of their communities, with their pals and their households, for so long as doable,” Bradley mentioned.
P.E.I.’s inhabitants is getting older quickly; by 2025, one in 4 Islanders will probably be over the age of 65. The danger of dementia is comparatively low above 65 however is higher for these over the age of 80.
On P.E.I., Bradley mentioned round 3,500 males and 4,000 girls over the age of 80 dwell with dementia.
The logic of shifting assets from institutional settings to homecare isn’t controversial in Canada however doesn’t usually information the place assets are allotted. P.E.I. offers way more funding in long-term care than homecare. However Bradley mentioned about 20 per cent of people in long-term care might be cared for at dwelling with some “sturdy homecare and neighborhood assist providers”.
“The aim is for sufferers with dementia, to allow them to stay at dwelling of their communities, with their pals and their households, for so long as doable.”
Lengthy-term care services on P.E.I. have a scarcity of beds with the capability to care for people with dementia. Typically this will imply hospital beds are occupied by alternate stage of care (ALC) sufferers, a time period referring to people who’re awaiting a mattress in one other facility.
P.E.I. has the best charges within the nation of hospital beds occupied ALC sufferers, Bradley mentioned.
This has all contributed to nursing and doctor staffing challenges seen in P.E.I. hospitals.
“We want these providers for when the seniors want them,” Bradley informed the committee.
“However we do see untimely admission to long-term care and doubtless pointless admissions to hospital.”
To handle this, Bradley mentioned the province hopes to offer extra funding to homecare in addition to the cellular built-in well being program, which permits paramedics to “check-in” on seniors residing at dwelling.
Bradley additionally mentioned the province plans to extend entry to home-based respite packages in addition to grownup day packages. The caring for older adults locally and at dwelling (COACH) program, which pairs seniors at dwelling with a workforce of well being professionals was additionally cited as a key program.
Bradley mentioned the province plans to introduce a pilot program involving a multidisciplinary dementia workforce of well being suppliers. That is anticipated to start within the fall.
Lastly, Bradley mentioned the province plans to offer monetary assist to household caregivers to permit them to rent caregivers, together with people they know who might present private care to an aged cherished one.
Bradley mentioned $4 million has been allotted on this yr’s provincial finances to assist these dementia-oriented packages.
“I do imagine that is the primary injection of a big quantity of assets into seniors care. So, I’m very optimistic on that entrance,” Bradley mentioned.
The plans have been met with some skepticism from Liberal MLA Robert Henderson. Henderson mentioned the province is going through staffing shortages inside each its long-term care sector in addition to in homecare.
“It looks like one thing’s obtained to offer,” Henderson mentioned.
Henderson requested Well being Minister Ernie Hudson, who was additionally current, whether or not he plans to reassign beds at Western Hospital in O’Leary to long-term care beds.
The reply, from Hudson, was no. However he acknowledged that the variety of dementia sufferers at Western Hospital is just too excessive.
“We’ve to attempt to cut back that quantity.”