Don’t seniors deserve better?

Each day in Canada, 7,550 hospital beds are filled with the elderly who don’t belong there—and it’s bad for their health

Don't seniors deserve better?

Dr. Mark Nowaczynski

On March 1, Maclean’s is hosting “Health Care in Canada: Time to Rebuild Medicare,” a town hall discussion at the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts in Toronto. The event, in conjunction with the Canadian Medical Association, will be broadcast by CPAC. The conversation on health care reform continues in the coming months in Maclean’s and at town halls in Edmonton, Vancouver and Ottawa.

He was a frail old man living in Vancouver. Call him Mr. B. One night he developed excruciating back pain, and his doctor was summoned. Mr. B was a lucky man in that his doctor was John Sloan, a general practitioner whose practice consisted of treating the frail elderly in their homes. Sloan’s diagnosis was a compression fracture of the vertebrae due to osteoporosis. He prescribed pain medication, and recommended keeping him at home. “It hurts like hell for six weeks,” Sloan said, “and then it gets better.”

His family was skeptical. Aren’t hospitals where you go when you’re sick? But Sloan was a trusted doctor and diligent with his  follow-up visits. One day, Mr. B had a setback, and the hired caregiver dialled 911. Three days later, Sloan received hospital reports, the first he knew his patient was admitted. Not good, he thought. He tried to convince the family to continue treatment at home, but they were awed by the medical resources deployed in aid of Mr. B. “He saw a psychiatrist. He saw a heart specialist. He saw a respiratory specialist. He saw an orthopaedic surgeon,” says Sloan. “The inevitable happened. He lost strength. He became confused.” He was put on antibiotics. He developed a C. difficile infection. Mr. B died in hospital.

Halfway across Canada, Mr. W was leading a largely independent life in his apartment in Toronto until last September. He was 100 years old, a retired Polish-born architect with a subversive sense of humour. He used a walker, but his intellect and imagination ranged beyond the walls of his apartment, abetted by the computer he’d learned to use seven years earlier. Last fall he grew weak. His son called Mr. W’s doctor, Mark Nowaczynski. Like Sloan, he’s a general practitioner specializing in treating frail elderly people in their homes. It was a Thursday. Nowaczynski diagnosed pneumonia, started him on antibiotics, arranged for additional home care by Monday. Give it time, he advised. Keep him out of hospital. By Friday night the antibiotics had yet to take full effect. The worried son dialled 911. Mr. W was admitted to hospital. An intravenous line went in his arm; a catheter in his bladder. He was confined to his bed, with the best of intentions. By Monday, Mr. W needed two people supporting him just to walk across the room.

The treatment—and mismanagement—of Canada’s older citizens represents one of the greatest challenges facing the national health care system. Not only does the greying boomer bulge represent a looming financial crisis, but existing models of care are inadequate, inefficient and frequently dead wrong, say many of those who navigate the system as patients and providers.

Today’s frailest patients often suffer from multiple chronic conditions, ingest a mix of drugs and frequently want for medical care until a crisis hits. Once they get to hospital  they stay there, tied to machines, consuming high-tech resources to little effect, growing weaker until the dim hope of a nursing home bed is the best of two potential outcomes. A frail, elderly person suffers a five per cent functional decline for every day in hospital, says Nowaczynski. In 10 days, that’s a 50 per cent decline. “The hospitals are overwhelmed with these people,” he says.

On any given day, 7,550 acute-care hospital beds in Canada are filled with people who should be in long-term-care nursing homes or in rehabilitation. Annually, that’s 2.4 million hospital days, at $1,000 each—$2.4 billion a year—spent warehousing elderly people, often to their detriment, while denying space to critically ill patients. For these reasons, the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) wants long-term care included in a reformed universal medicare system. “Today we have 142 patient beds that are filled with people waiting to go into long-term care,” CMA president Dr. Jeff Turnbull said recently of a typical day at Ottawa Hospital, where he is chief of staff. The elderly would receive better care elsewhere at a fraction of the cost, if there was an elsewhere, he said. “Hospitals are not good places for people waiting for rehab or other circumstances,” he said. On that day, 38 admitted patients in Ottawa’s ER were waiting for beds.

The postwar model of hospitals bristling with high-tech equipment and doctors performing piecework on waiting rooms full of patients works reasonably well for those who are acutely ill, those with a family doctor, those who are mobile. But hospitalizing the feeble often inflicts harm while giving false comfort to their families, says Sloan, who is also the author of A Bitter Pill: How the Medical System is Failing the Elderly. The aggressive use of technology and specialists can literally be overkill. “The frail elderly need something completely different,” says Sloan. “The analogy is a Formula One racing car trying to pull a freight train,” he says. “It’s just the wrong job for a wonderfully sophisticated thing.” In hospital, the frail lose all control, he says. “They need to be allowed to make decisions about what’s going to happen to them as their inevitable decline occurs.”

The problem is so much more than a numbers game, but the statistics make a compelling case for reform. Already, those 65 and older consume 44 per cent of provincial and territorial health spending. Thirty years ago, health spending accounted for an average of 29 per cent of provincial program costs. Now it tops 39 per cent on average, and in Ontario, eats almost 46 per cent of program spending. Today, about 14 per cent of the population is 65 years or older. Their numbers will double in the next two decades, while those 85 and older will quadruple. What impact that will have on health care financing—while the workforce shrinks proportionately—is anyone’s guess.

Certainly the system would already be in collapse if not for the work of more than two million informal caregivers, usually spouses or adult children, whose work allows seniors to remain at home. The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) estimates the economic contribution of informal eldercare at $25 billion a year.

All too often such informal arrangements collapse. A health crisis causes overwhelmed caregivers to punch 911, and a bad situation gets worse. Last month, an 86-year-old woman was rushed to a Toronto-area hospital suffering from a stroke and heart attack, after hospitals closer to home said they weren’t accepting patients. She was admitted after 16 hours and given a temporary bed in emergency. She languished there for a week before finally getting a room, says her son, who requested anonymity. “If mom did not have my sister spending every day, all day, with her, we do not believe she would survive,” he says. “We are living the hell of Canada’s failing health care system.”

There’s no easy answer to the looming grey tsunami, but a prescription of common sense can work wonders. If older people want to stay at home, or at least out of hospital, honour their wish. In B.C., doctors can now bill $106 for a home visit, enough so Sloan, now in busy semi-retirement, has turned his home-care practice over to three doctors. There’s another such practice in Victoria. And there’s Nowaczynski’s House Calls program in Toronto. That hardly constitutes a trend, Nowaczynski concedes. “I think if we had a national conference, we could share the same taxi from the airport.” Nowaczynski, a gifted photographer, often packs his camera on house calls. His portraits of willing patients draw attention to the invisible elderly, a voice rarely heard in the health care debate.

Ontario’s $1.1-billion Aging at Home Strategy has seen an overdue investment in badly needed nursing home and rehab beds, and home-care services. It’s allowed Nowaczynski, at a cost of less than $500,000 a year, to lead a roving team including a social worker, occupational therapist, a nurse and nurse practitioner. Keep just 10 people a year out of nursing homes and the program pays for itself, he says.

Then there’s Dr. Samir Sinha, the dynamic new director of geriatrics at Mount Sinai in Toronto, who approaches eldercare with evangelical zeal. The hospital board gave him a mandate to do what’s best for its older patients, to make geriatrics a core priority, to have an integrated team deal with every aspect of their hospital stay—and, where possible, to meet their needs as outpatients or at home. “Our goal,” says Sinha, “is that people in the community never have to come visit our hospital.”

The program was in its infancy in mid-September when Mr. W arrived in the ER. He was screened as all patients 65 and older now are to determine his capabilities and risk factors. On Monday, a geriatric emergency nurse alerted Sinha to Mr. W’s fragile state. Where do you want to go from here, Sinha asked during his bedside consultation. “I want to go home,” said Mr. W. Out went the catheter and intravenous, in came physio and occupational therapists. Some two weeks later, Mr. W pushed his walker out the hospital door. Nowaczynski read Sinha’s discharge notes, and thought: “Finally, somebody who gets it.” He and Sinha have since formed a collaborative, interdisciplinary team.

They believe they have seen the future, and a part of it is reminiscent of the past: a time when the knock on a patient’s door made a world of difference. The two doctors recently paid a visit to the home of a rejuvenated Mr. W. As his 101st birthday approaches, he is busy writing his memoirs.

The Toronto town hall on March 1 will be moderated by Maclean’s Ken MacQueen with opening remarks by Dr. Jeff Turnbull, CMA President. The panel features Mary Jo Haddad, President and CEO, the Hospital for Sick Children; Dr. Mark MacLeod, President, Ontario Medical Association; Durhane Wong-Rieger, President and CEO, Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes; Andrew Coyne, National Editor, Maclean’s. For tickets and information on this event and the series, visit macleans.ca/healthseries.


Don’t seniors deserve better?

  1. Recently I had to get a long term care placement for a friend with Alzheimer's. It was a shock to find out how difficult this was and how long the waiting lists were. I mentioned to the Social Worker that I would like to go to a specific facility when the time arose. Her response stunned me. She said that if I put my name on the list now, I might get a bed there in about 11 years. There were over 300 people on the waiting list and since a space only becomes available when someone dies I could see why it would take that long.
    The system is indeed broken and is only going to get worse with our aging population.

    • Stay on that list for 11 years, slowly moving upward…..have a problem as your name comes up….break your arm or something that means an overnight stay in a hospital….and you can't take the spot right that second, but you do want it within days……..and you'll go to the bottom of the list again.


      • Or you could win a lottery and live independently happy ever after, dummy!

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  2. I'm going through exactly the above scenario with my step-mother. She was in a care home, walking well with a walker, and basically looking after herself. One day, two months ago, she fell (no broken bones that they could detect) and has been in the hospital ever since. Yesterday when I visited her, she said, "I don't know if I'll ever be able to walk again". The hospital has kept her either in bed or belted sitting in a chair. She had gotten up to go to the washroom once, and they don't want her doing that for fear she would fall. The only time she gets to walk is when we visit her. The nurses say they are too busy to walk her, and physiotherapy won't since she is slated for Long Term Care. She lives in another city, so we can't make it each day. Tomorrow she goes into Long Term Care, and I'm hoping that they can bring her back somewhat to what she was before.

    • Your home filled up? Does your little mental blockage never allow you to see how it used to be, is in many other places, and will be again here someday!

      • Yes, we live in an apt. She was in the hospital, remember, and now she needs special care. She is 93 years old and we are seniors. I am thankful for the care that Canada gives… no doubt if it were how it used to be, she would no longer be with us.

    • one more reason to take care of our health, while we are young

  3. Just what do people expect when, for years now, government has made a mockery of the taxpayers money, grabbing and spending every dime that comes in while preaching households should show restraint. My mother had a grade 8 education and she knew better than any of these power hungry clowns. Saving for a 'rainy day' is so foreign as to be laughable to literally everyone associated with government. It's only gonna get worse.

    • Well Harper pis*ed the surplus away….go talk to him

      • Harper has nothing to do with your hospital situation! Faint of brains. Why is there no Problems in New Brunswick, or Quebec?

        • I see you've never faced the situation. When you do I assure you your back-woods solutions won't work.

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  4. I recently lost both of my parents within a four month period. They were both in their early nineties and lived a vibrant life. However, the last few years were riddled with visits to the hospital, and their final months were spent in a nursing home. My father had hip surgery at age 90, and this turned into a four month stay in hospital. I can attest through the experiences of both of my parents that long hospital stays are clearly bad for not only their health but also their well being.

    In addition, my family discovered that nursing homes, while an improvement over the hospital environment, are a long ways away from providing quality care. It seems we tend to "warehouse" the elderly in institutions. Caring for their physical health is not enough. We should honour the elderly and provide them with quality care that respects their physical, mental and spiritual well being. The elderly deserve our respect – let's find better ways to care for them.

  5. One of the problems is that there are not enough nursing homes available that the elderly can afford. My husband and I cared for my elderly, but mobile and alert Mother for 4 years. She had macular degeneration and other health issues. My brothers & sisters promised they would take turns having her at their place on weekends. That didn't happen. Finally we found a govt. run nursing home, which not only cared for the elderly, but younger disabled persons. Each of us would take turns having her for a weekend. I still feel guilty about putting her in the home. She shared a room with a 98 yr old woman who was bed ridden. She feared becoming like her. One morning, a yr or 2 yrs later. She had dressed herself to go down for breakfast and they found her beside her bed. Not sure if it was a heart attack or stroke, but Drs thought it was instantaneous. We were thankful she did not suffer for long – her greatest fear. She was 86.

  6. The last place for frail elderly folks should be the hospital, and this article rightly stresses the idiocy of tieing up hospital beds with people who should ideally be cared for in their homes – second perference, care facilities. Even there, crazy practises are found, like shuttling bedridden elderly people in ambulances to hospital ER's for x-rays, or to get IV's started. The results harm the patients/residents, and their costs are through the roof.

    We simply have to do much better at providing home support care and keep as many elderly out of hospital wards as we can.

  7. Home care and caregiver support are fine and dandy. really, they are. But look what happened in several of the vignettes here:

    –>One way to look at it: a caregiver or proxy wimped out and shipped off the "patient" to Bells and Whistles General Hospital.
    –>Another way to look at it: the senior citizen became unmanageable at home even with a house-call doc on service.

    Assisted living and nursing homes and rehab centres are in VERY short supply, for two very obvious reasons: (1) governments can't and/or won't pay for them and (2) we demand them in old age without having bothered to set aside nearly enough of our own accumulated wealth when we were younger in order to afford that which we now demand.

    • Here's the big secret about health care: Everybody wants the best care, right now, and it has to be available at all times, no waiting.

      Oh, and don't raise my taxes.

      • You left out FREE, and immediately next door to where I live, and the ambulances had better not make any annoying noises in my neighbourhood in the middle of the night.

        And, indeed, don't raise my taxes, for I am gouged enough as it is. Just raise everyone else's taxes, because nobody else is paying enough.

        • You will too MYL, when you're time comes. The women in my family all drop dead of heart attacks – very little cost to the system. I'm hoping to carry on the tradition but you never know how it will end up.

      • there is more than enough $ in the system, it’s the abuse at all levels, starting with politicians, hospitals, doctors, and of course, and people that put our good benefits at risk,

    • …we demand them in old age without having bothered to set aside nearly enough of our own accumulated wealth when we were younger…

      Isn't that why most folks have kids? So that their taxes can support us?

      I say that partially in jest, but at least partially seriously. I fully understand the concept of each person saving for his or her own future costs, be they retirement costs or health costs or whatever. But the alternate method of handling retirement and health costs (amongst others, I suppose) is that today's workers agree to pay for their parents generation with the understanding that today's workers will be looked after by the following generation. That is how the systems were designed all those decades ago, no?

      Sure, that method will have certain stresses, but the alternate system is going to have a different set of problems, and I'm far convinced that those problems would be any less vexing than the problems we are facing today.

      • Isn't that why most folks have kids? So that their taxes can support us?

        Most folks have kids because, well, Mommy and Daddy really love each other, and when a mommy and a daddy really love each other, they like to hug each other really close…

        As for "certain stresses," that's a helluva euphemism for the Boomers banking on mooching off the next generation while simultaneously failing to create enough of that next generation.

        • Most folks have kids because, well, Mommy and Daddy really love each other, and when a mommy and a daddy really love each other, they like to hug each other really close…

          While I do appreciate that view of "Mommy, where do babies come from?", I do think you are being a little to glib about apparently discounting the idea that there are certain expectations between aging parents and their grown children – the purpose of children might not always be explicitly, 100% to take care of the parents later on, but that element does exist.

          I'm particularly skilled at creating euphemisms! But, yes, I totally agree that some combination of more realistic expectations from users of both the health care and retirement systems AND increased contributions from both retirees who can afford to contribute more as well as from their children is going to be necessary if we are going to come through the boomer bulge with a system that is still there for me (and you, if I have your age pegged correctly.)

          • I do think you are being a little to glib about apparently discounting the idea that there are certain expectations between aging parents and their grown children – the purpose of children might not always be explicitly, 100% to take care of the parents later on, but that element does exist.

            Damn, where did I sign that contract? I'll have to check my file cabinet.

            Listen, I love my parents and I'll do what I can for 'em. But ultimately, if my mom and dad wanted my brother and I to finance their dotage, they probably should have had more than two kids: short of my little bro and I tacitly agreeing to shove the more senile parent off the High Level Bridge, I find it hard to believe how each of us are going to both finance our own families and a parent and, hell, given our ever-expanding ability to push the dying of the light further and further back, maybe a couple grandparents too.

            I am, however, also pleased to report that in my case both my parents have been industriously working and saving for their retirements and they'll probably hardly need our help at all. If they hadn't… well, regardless of what the "certain expectations" might have been…

          • Heh, contract…..you didn't sign an explicit contract, but you knew that, of course. :-)

            And as I reread this thread I find myself being "asked" to defend a position to which I really subscribe. MYL originally (mildly?) suggested that assisted living centres, etc are in VERY short supply, at least partly because old folks demand them without having bothered to set aside nearly enough of their own accumulated wealth when they were younger.

            I'm only making the point that those folks did pay taxes over their working lifetimes (and may still be paying some taxes today). Sure, a portion of those taxes was NOT being set aside on their behalf, so as to pay for services that they are consuming today; instead those taxes were being used to pay for the health care of their parents. I thought that the "pay it forward" aspect of our health care system (and other programs, such as CPP for example), was generally understood amongst the citizens – maybe not.

            That is all I'm suggesting, nothing more. Are we spending insane amounts of (health care) money in the last 3 months of life, more so these days as we continue to make technological "advances"? I suspect so, although I have tried to locate actual research to support that claim, and what little research I did find wasn't as "spectracular" as I was "hoping". Are demographic factors that we had no clue about 40 years ago adding an additional stress to the financial situation? Absolutely!! Would it have been helpful for todays boomers to have done a better job of balancing the government books over the last several decades? Again, absolutely!

            So now it will almost certainly be necessary for them to contribute a little more, work an extra few years instead of retiring at 60, their own expectations about their care may have to be reduced, and we, as their grown children will have to make sure that we don't demand ridiculous interventions for our ailing parents, and so on.

          • So now it will almost certainly be necessary for them to contribute a little more, work an extra few years instead of retiring at 60, their own expectations about their care may have to be reduced, and we, as their grown children will have to make sure that we don't demand ridiculous interventions for our ailing parents, and so on.

            Yes, yes, yes, and so on. What odds do you give on that "Me" Generation actually pulling off the feats you lay out?

          • Good question, very good question, to which I only have a crappy answer…better odds than you might think, for a couple of reasons.

            First I look to the pension crisis of 15(?) years ago…with a nip here and a tuck there, that system is in much better shape that anyone had a right to think it would be, especially based on the doom and gloom we heard back then. Granted, some of the threats we face today are probably larger, but not insurmountable.

            Second, I fall back to the old "Things can't keep on going on like this" defence…at some point enough people will accept that things, indeed, can't go on, and changes will be made. Some of those changes might be severe, but changes will occur, and the world will go on, in some fashion.

            I accept that neither of those "explanations" is particularly satisfying.

          • … at some point enough people will accept that things, indeed, can't go on, and changes will be made.

            Sadly, NOT enough people are anywhere close to accepting that yet. Just how bad will it have to get before people (re-)learn how to count? Come-hell-or-high-water bad? Greece bad? USA-in-four-years bad? USA-in-ten-years crippling? Everybody-grow-your-own-garden-and-pack-heat catastrophic?

          • Sooo…..

            I think we actually agree quite a lot about the facts of the current situation and even the near term trends. We seem to disagree more about how this will all shake out, and even though I'm the guy with the EyeOre icon, I find myself being fairly optimistic about the future. ;-)

  8. How is it that the government can afford a billion dollars for the G8/G20 meeting and 9 billion for new fighter jets, but can't afford more long term care facilities? It seems to be a question of priorities not a lack of money.

    • This is a good question but the fact is that healthcare is a provincial responsibility and you are talking about the federal government. In the case of a province like Alberta which is a net contributor, the federal government provides no funds and has no say over how tax dollars are spent. Therefore, you must look at your own provincial government and ask what the priorities of that government are.

      • Although the federal government is not responsible for health care administration, organization or delivery, it can exert considerable influence on provincial health care policies by using the political and financial leverage afforded by the spending power. In fact, by setting the requirements for providing federal funding, the Canada Health Act has to a large extent shaped provincial health care insurance plans throughout the country.

        The scale of transfer payments from the federal government to the provincial governments has increased in Canada as a result of the characteristics of the constitution and reality. It is because Canadian provinces have been given the potentially most expensive responsibilities in the modern state, while being limited to direct taxation, and because many of them have found themselves faced with a tax base below the national average, that recourse to the spending power has become so important in the practical workings of Canadian federalism

    • The whole concept of prioritizing spending is not something you can expect from most government. Most throw money at every little greasy wheel which is why medical funding is limited. We need to have international conferences (G8 & G20) and we need fighter jets. If we stopped over-compensating the bloated bureaucracies and unions there would be more money to spend on medical needs. Seniors are the most wealthy demographic in Canada. Thos ecurrently in their eighties paid as little as 15% tax during their highest earning years. The term senior (65+) often includes their parents. We need to be more realistic and consider changing who we fund & how. Many seniors sell their home give the funds to their kids and go out looking for subsidized housing. Many live in subsidized housing with gov't pensions only while having large assets not visible to authorities. The government needs to get out of the housing business and focus more on healthcare. Many seniors do not exercise as it was not something done previously. Seniors need to take more control and responsibility for their retirement. We will need all the money for long term care alone without throwing in subsidized housing.

    • I checked and found, the Government can afford nothing, and, like cretin, actually take every cent they can get from the tax payers who willingly give whatever the government pot asks for. so you want care facilities, then send enough of your money to them, so that they are Mobark comfortable and then they will get you your care homes, with your money. For some reason, New Brunswick and Quebec are WELL funded.

    • We must remember that if we have no security forces for our country, & do not keep up with the latest tech. in this, we could be another middle east. Look @ the mess there, & remember that 2/3 of the world are in that situation & growing. Be thankful we have as much as we do. Remember even democracies make mistakes as in the G8/G20 under disciplined situation. Some were not well controlled both within the crowds & in the police action. No system of gov't is perfect. Look @ us now having an unnecessary election because our MP's forget or seem unaware how unstable the world is at this time. Working together should be the way parliment functions-NOT trying to score political points. Funny how that would help us be FAR MORE PRODUCTIVE as a NATION.

  9. Let's build PRISONS … not long-term-care nursing homes or pay for rehabilitation.

    Let's build PRISONS … and close hospitals, after school sports, neighbourhood schools.

    Let's build PRISONS … then we don't have to do anything else … since for one thing, they will be no money left.

    • Again, you are talking about two different governments. Hospitals, schools, nursing homes all fall under the responsibility of your provincial government. They have a certain amount of funds. They decide how to spend them. They decide where to make cuts.

      • Hello Federal Spending Power.

    • Another stupid comment. You are totally drawn in to the liberal spin on prisons. There is currently a serious overcrowding issue in prisons and some are over 100 yrs old. That is the prison issue, not the liberal spin about tougher sentencing making more cell space needed.

      • The current government does not give a rat's ass about overcrowding in prisons. That's not why they're building more prisons. They'd have inmates triple bunked just to worsen the punishment if they could get away with it.

        • and, prisons are a business as well, so they need “customers”

  10. It's also bad for the rest of us. Hospital beds full of seniors who don't belong there means no hospital beds for sick kids and adults who DO belong there.

    The hospital is one of the most expensive places to care for people, this is the reason why the system's costs are spiraling out of control.

    • The lack of providing long term care beds and using acute care beds as a substitute is one of the biggest wastes of money in the system. We don't have governments who plan beyond the next election cycle to deal with this problem.

  11. Many seniors prefer to not live on their own. Congregate housing can be a better way to remain social, active and enjoy the services while they are still healthy. It is totally unrealistic and unsustainable to consider sending medical services to your garndmother's house three times a week. Many of these single seniors live on gov't pension only, want subsidies for property taxes and extra services while sitting on an asset of over $500gs.
    Then we hear about horror stories above about waiting on a cot for 36 hours because of funding issues. We try to please everyone and please no one. Eliminate wasteful frill spending suggested by many seniors advocates and look after the serious issues first.

    • You will find that the boomers children want to inherit their parents assets – they're not in favour of some late life 'pay as you go' scheme that would see their inheritance disapear. There is more than one generations interest at play here.

  12. "A frail, elderly person suffers a five per cent functional decline for every day in hospital, says Nowaczynski. In 10 days, that's a 50 per cent decline."

    No…it's a 36% decline on the original functional level. It really detracts from the article when you are unable to demonstrate basic maths skills.

    • It looks like you did your math incorrectly, too. I get a 40% decline (0.95 ^ 10 = 60%).

  13. Why are people surprised when someone over 85 dies in the hospital? These people would've died in their homes if they were NOT taken to the hospital. I think our society has lost perspective of age and death. It is normal for the elderly to die! Our life span has been extended dramatically because of modern medicine. I think that some people are just not prepared for the inevitable end of the life cycle.

    However, I do agree that there are not enough long term care facilities to house the elderly. But how do we solve this?

  14. I was told that 4-5 code blues occur weekly, demographics elderly patients over the age of 70, medicated with narcotics typically. This is a form of chemical restraint, unethical and criminal in my opinion. My father was part of this stat on 2 occasions. I just buried my father due to incompetency at this hospital. I have committed in my father's memory to be part of a movement for change. Our health care for the elderly is definitely in crisis, & death is inevitable if action is not taken. I

  15. Our mother died in a nursing home 4 years ago and her death haunts us still. She was not well enough to go to the dining room for breakfast that morning and a tray was brought to her room. She got into difficulty in some way and died. We know she would have been calling for help but since all the staff were busy in the dining room and noone was available on the floor to help her she died – probably calling our names too. Noone came.

  16. My mom is in a non profit Long term care home in Markham Ontario, the care ratio is 1PSW looking after 13 residents, the reason to have this skeleton staff everyday because the government does not allocate enough money to have more care giver staff to get a much better care and time for each resident. I hope the Canadian Provincial/Federal will pay more attention to better the life of the seniors in this country.

  17. Truth is that no Western country looks after is aged.  Some European countries do better than Canada, but the nauture of Capitalism means that the ones contributing most get the best treatment.  I do wonder how the flower children of the 60s ended up creating a system that is so full of greed.  I thought then and do now, that all the love ins etc. were just about sex and drugs, no real content.  Nothing was changed and the people could have.  No, just like in Russia the Communists who were going to look after everyone, once they got power, looked after themselves.  This is what is underlying the troubles in Europe as well as North America.  They people at the top of companies and our politicians are all looking forward to retiring on inflated pensions, to heck with the rest of the people.

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