The findings of Auditor General (AG) Guylaine Leclerc on long-term care and housing confirm what Réseau FADOQ has been denouncing for many years: the laxity and inaction of successive governments mean that we are not taking proper care of seniors.
“We knew we were behind in preparing the health care system to deal with an aging population. This AG’s report unfortunately illustrates the magnitude of the challenge facing Quebec. There is an urgent need to correct the situation,” says Gisèle Tassé-Goodman, president of Réseau FADOQ.
Monitoring demographic trends in order to plan for the population’s future needs is a core responsibility of government. The AG notes, however, that the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux has not assessed future long-term care needs in nearly 15 years. Not only has Québec failed to assume its responsibilities in this area, but it persists in focussing on the short term.
Poorly allocated investments
Quebec is currently in catch-up mode with respect to the investments needed in care and housing for people with severe loss of autonomy.
The report once again eloquently demonstrates that three quarters of long-term care spending continues to be concentrated in residential care while only one quarter is allocated to home care.
Like the AG, Réseau FADOQ insists on the need to ensure a level of services that matches an individual’s degree of autonomy, and to determine the types of services that will be offered in the home to seniors with significant loss of autonomy. People need home support as well as care.
Workforce: big solutions for big problems
Once again, workforce shortages are identified as the major problem facing the health care system in achieving an adequate level of care for seniors. The AG reminds us that solutions must be put in place to address this shortage.
As mentioned after the tabling of the Action Plan for Long-Term Care, the Quebec government must put forward a detailed and ambitious staffing plan for the workforce.
Clarification is needed on hiring goals and the means by which the next government intends to achieve its goal, including increasing cohorts through the education system, recruiting internationally, and improving recognition of prior learning and skills.
We must leave no stone unturned and the Quebec government cannot afford to ignore its partners, especially at the community level.