The elderly, they say, have been disproportionately affected by that trend and end up being pushed into underfunded long-term care or into expensive nursing homes that don’t meet their complex health needs. Nor is home-care available or sufficient to meet the needs of many elderly with complex mental and physical health issues.
The elderly, the groups say, continue to bear the brunt of a badly underfunded and disconnected system.
“COVID-19 has shone a harsh light into treatment of the elderly in health care,” said Meadus. “This is not a new issue and it is not specific to COVID. These are the issues (the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly) were dealing with prior to COVID and have been dealing with for 20 years.”
The groups say the ongoing commission investigating issues in long-term care during the pandemic does not go far enough. They want to see a broad investigation into what they call systemic elder discrimination within the entire health system.
Representatives of the three organizations said Ottawa has experienced the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on the elderly. Of 450 Ottawa residents who have died from COVID-19, at least 282 were long-term care residents and 50 lived in retirement homes. The vast majority of deaths have been among people over 65.
In Ottawa, more than 30,000 people are waiting for long-term care homes, some for as long as five years.
“Every bed is full in long-term care homes, every bed is full in hospitals. As a consequence, the elderly are pushed around to places that are not safe and do not provide adequate care,” said Natalie Mehra, who heads the Ontario Health Coalition.
Among other things, groups say some ALC patients in Ontario were “decanted” from hospital to long-term care homes that were in the middle of COVID-19 outbreaks. At least one elderly patient died after being transferred.
Michael Hurley, who heads the Ontario Association of Hospital Unions, said a high proportion of long-term care residents who died from COVID-19 did so without being sent to hospital.
“Most died without having any access to palliative care, respiratory therapists, respirologists, any advantages of modern medicine. How could that happen?”
This content was originally published here.