CARP: An overwhelming 99 per cent of CARP respondents say long-term care is a key issue in upcoming election

Community News & Features Jun 1, 2018 at 2:12 pm

TORONTO– According to CARP’s latest poll, an overwhelming 99 per cent of its member respondents say long-term care is important in the upcoming election so it’s no surprise that long-term care is on every party’s platform. But what do people want, and what is each party willing to commit to?

The poll, conducted by CARP and AdvantAge Ontario, revealed that 92 per cent of respondents believe there is not enough staff to care for residents in long-term care. Fifty-five per cent of respondents believe the measure that would most improve care and safety in long-term care is a higher staff to resident ratio at all times.

“CARP is calling for an increase in funding for staffing and specialized training in long-term care facilities to reflect the changing composition of residents, and better protect our frailest population,” said Laura Tamblyn Watts, National Director of Policy, Research & Law of CARP, Canada’s leading advocacy association for older Canadians.

The most important issues identified in long-term care were:

  • Adequate staff levels 57%
  • Long wait lists 57%
  • Local availability of beds 48%
  • The home’s accountability for care provided 46%

In addition, CARP member respondents’ main concerns were quality of staff (48%); number of staff (41%); and resident safety (40%).

Best things about long-term care

When asked what the two best things about their experience with long-term care, respondents’ number one answer was the staff (53%).

“This is wonderful validation for all the staff who work hard every day to provide safe and high quality care to the residents in Ontario’s long-term care homes,” said Lisa Levin, CEO of AdvantAge Ontario.

“But we know that with our aging population and the growing complexity of seniors coming into long-term care that staffing must be a priority. Greater provincial funding to increase staffing, hours of care per resident and ongoing staff training is critical for quality resident care and safety,” added Levin.

Here’s what else ranked as the best things about long-term care:

  • Staff 53%
  • Facilities 37%
  • Activities 34%
  • Resident care 29%
  • Residents’ or Family Councils 19%

Is Living in Long-Term Care Inevitable?

An overwhelming 80 per cent of CARP members know someone who is living or has lived in long-term care. When asked whether long-term care might factor into their own lives (if they were no longer able to care for themselves), only 5 per cent said they don’t consider it an option at all. Meanwhile, 12 per cent said it would be a first choice; 40 per cent a possibility; and 44 per cent a last resort.

“Long-term care should be safe, engaging and provide the best possible quality of life for adults who need this level of care. Adequate support and specialized training for staff is vital to residents’ quality of life,” said Tamblyn Watts.

This survey was conducted via email from May 4th to 11th, 2018 in Ontario; 2,296 CARP members responded. Members are generally age 50 and over.

Click here for full survey results.

Read more about AdvantAge Ontario’s recommendations to support care for aging Ontarians.

About CARP

CARP is a non-profit, non-partisan association representing more than 300,000 older Canadians across Canada. We advocates for better health care, financial security and freedom from ageism. We’re supported by our membership, and valued corporate partners who offer members discounts and benefits. Visit: www.carp.ca