News Briefs

Canadian home care earns a low score

Canada’s Association for the Fifty-Plus (CARP) has given the Canadian home care system low marks according to Home Care by Default, Not by Design, a report card recently issued by the group. CARP, Canada’s largest senior group, called the home care system there woefully inadequate in spite of government assurances to devote more time and finances to the system. "Improved government funding" earned only a C grade, with the group saying that there has been insufficient changes despite a slight increase in home care during.

The group claims that when taken in the broader context, the increase is too little to make a significant difference. Staffing also fared poorly, bringing home a grade of E, a negative change, with the group citing a lack of national standards, poor training, and underpaid, overworked home care staff. Nor did service delivery score high marks. It earned only a D- grade from the group in part because of the wide variations in service from province to province — some provinces charge user fees and many have weekly and/or monthly limits on how often home care staff can visit.

Among the group’s recommendations were that the country establish: a national home care program; a governmental framework in which national standards and guidelines are developed; a source of targeted funding; a work force and education strategy whereby issues such as low compensation, poor training, and international home care practices are addressed; and country-wide incentives for family caregivers in the form of tax breaks, financial compensation, training, and job security.