Now, more than ever, we need to solve Ontario's health-care crisis capacity

by Home Care Ontario | Jan 08, 2018

Jan 5-18 Globe &Mail -Now more...Ontario's health-care crisis of capacity

January 5, 2018

Globe and Mail

Letter to the Editor

Re: Now, more than ever, we need to solve Ontario’s health-care crisis of capacity

In the article “Now, more than ever we need to solve Ontario’s health-care crises of capacity,” Jon Dwyer, is the latest to raise the alarm over the unacceptable overcrowding plaguing our hospitals. Dwyer, is correct that “Ontario needs more hospitals, more rehab facilities and more long-term-care beds.” But it also needs more home care.

Dwyer correctly points out that hospital overcrowding surges during flu season, but the sustained overcrowding and “hallway medicine” we are now seeing is quickly becoming the new normal. The Ontario Hospital Association recently warned the hospital sector “is on the brink” and this will continue unabated due to our rapidly aging population unless substantial investments are finally made in home care.

Home care is a key to relieving the pressure off our hospitals in a cost-effective manner. The average cost of one week of care for seniors in hospitals is 20 times more expensive than the same services provided through home care. Despite rising demand, home care spending has remained flat at just five per cent of total health care expenditures for the past eight years. This must change.

Helping seniors stay at home or successfully return home after a hospital stay – where approximately 70 per cent of referrals for home come from – requires a well-run, well-funded home care system to accommodate referrals and deliver quality care to discharged patients.

A better home care system means both stronger hospitals and long-term care communities. It is, therefore, essential that Ontario invests more in home care as a key part of reducing hospital overcrowding and build an adequate, equitable health care system which works for all patients. 

Sue VanderBent, CEO

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