Your June 3 article (KHAG outlines Multi-level care bed shortage concerns) on ‘bed blockers’ in the local hospital is a growing yet quite solvable problem.
It is time to advocate for a different, better functioning frail-senior care model. The crisis in BC’s rural and small community hospitals will only expand with our rapidly aging demographics which is largely compounded by hyper inflating care costs.
BC spends almost half of its annual tax revenues on medical services. If one parses the provincial budget reports, you will find that 50 per cent of our medical funds are attributed to frail complex care patients, yet they make up only 1 per cent of the BC population – about 40,000 frail and complex care patients.
As we BC taxpayers are already tapped out financially, simply throwing more tax money at this type of problem will not solve it.
However, we do need and encourage more public imagination in solving this unrelenting dilemma. The solutions are technological in that tele-medical physician/nursing supported community home-nursing like the model developed by Dr. John Sloan for aging care in Vancouver, combined with affordable and intelligent home-based assistive equipment, can deliver a functioning ‘hospital-at-home’ for frail seniors.
These viable technologies are being piloted with good results in other areas of the world. Conjuncting these three novel home-care modalities can eliminate 80 per cent of the legacy waste.
Typical patient care costs are about $1,200 per day in hospitals and $196 per day in nursing homes, while a ‘hospital@home’ can be delivered for $30 to $85 per day.
No-one is really happy with the status quo, so we need to change the way we do things if Medicare is to survive.
The solutions are out there, but they require community leaders to demand a broader vision and meaningful policy change from the political class who are charged with solving these social and economic issues.
Insist on our elected leaders investigating new ideas by having them look at fresh approaches, and taking more calculated risks to test and prove out these novel solutions.
We need to reaffirm our commitment to senior care by focusing on the real issues. Geriatirc poly pharmacy (excessive pill popping) and heroic medical interventions for our last phase of life has been a colossal and insane economic failure.
The sustainable prescription for senior-care is compassion, comfort and dignity. It is time to make these shared values our community goals.
A new BC Health Care Committee is being assembled to look at these issues in Victoria. Take the time to advocate for these changes and let the politicians know how important this priority is for your community.
If you don’t, you may not get the care you deserve when you are old and feeble.
The time is now, not ten years from now to make responsible changes for all of us.
Digniti® Home-Hospital Project,