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What will it take to change long-term care in Canada?

Calgary Herald opinion columnist Trina Thorne, nurse practitioner working in long-term care

The global pandemic marked Canada as an outlier in one significant, tragic way. While seniors in most countries were hit hard, in Canada, a whopping 81 per cent of all deaths in the initial months of the pandemic happened in long-term care, compared to a mean of 42 per cent in other OECD countries. A more recent, independent assessment has found that of Canada’s 30,420 deaths from COVID-19, 18,800 deaths have occurred in 1871 residential facilities as of January 9, 2022. Why were seniors in Canada’s long-term care facilities so hard hit compared to elsewhere? Poor pandemic preparedness, lower daily care hours for residents, poor funding and resources, inconsistent inspections and inadequate integration of health and hospital services are among many factors at play.
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