For many people, suffering an illness or injury that requires hospitalization can be a very traumatic experience. This period is certainly not the best time to make a major life decision, like moving to a long-term care (LTC) facility, however, for many seniors, it is often under these conditions that they find themselves forced to make life-changing decisions about their housing and medical care.
A recent report published by CBC suggests that seniors aren’t always given accurate information and guidance about this transition. Learn more about the report and read our tips about what to consider when applying for elder care in Canada.
Jane Meadus, an institutional advocate and lawyer with the Toronto-based Advocacy Centre for the Elderly told the CBC that “patients who want to apply for LTC are often given misleading information by hospitals and the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs).”
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According to the CBC report, “hospital overcrowding and a shortage of LTC beds” are driving patients in need of care back into the community to navigate the next steps of their healthcare and housing with minimal support.
In these circumstances, patients and their families are not being properly educated on the LTC application process. The article reveals that “many patients and their families are told they can’t apply for a LTC bed while they’re in the hospital or that they need hospital approval to apply,” which is incorrect.
Meadus says the result is a ‘home first’ approach, which has been adopted by several LHINs in Ontario which “encourages patients to return to the community before they make life-changing decisions about LTC.”
However, the CBC report points out that this approach means many seniors are being discharged from hospital with minimal support and even less follow up.
The Advocacy Centre for the Elderly also has information on a variety of LTC guidelines and policies, including:
If the time comes when you, a parent or a senior loved one are considering moving to a LTC facility, be sure to consider your rights.
It may not be enough for you to rely on the discharge planner or hospital staff to provide you with accurate, unbiased information.
Always contact your LHIN case worker (if you have one) or seek legal advice to help ensure you are making the best decision for you and your family.
Have you or a senior loved one applied for elder care in Canada recently? What was your experience like? We’d like to hear your stories in the comments below.