Currently Browsing: The Canadian Press

Helpline launched for caregivers in Ontario

The Canadian Press, Toronto

Family caregivers in Ontario now have a helpline if they’re needing respite, a support group or information on issues including tax credits .The Ontario Caregiver Organization’s chief executive officer, Amy Coupal, says caregivers are experiencing frustration and even depression as a result of their responsibilities, and have responded to a survey saying it’s challenging to find support. She says a third of caregivers are not coping well emotionally, and that number increases to more than half for those caring for someone with a mental-health issue. The helpline connects caregivers to a community resource representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and a live chat site is also available between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., during weekdays. An online survey by the Change Foundation and the caregiver organization included 800 caregivers, and was conducted province-wide in the spring, showing 56 per cent of respondents find the process difficult — compared with 39 per cent last year — and more of them are now under financial strain.

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Seniors in long-term care facilities twice as likely to be on opioids: report

The Canadian Press

Seniors in long-term care facilities appeared to be twice as likely to be prescribed opioids compared to other people their age and three times as likely to be on antidepressants, according to 2016 data in a new report by the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Almost 40 per cent of long-term care residents in British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario and Prince Edward Island were prescribed opioids, compared to 20.4 per cent of all seniors. About 60 per cent of the long-term care residents were on antidepressants, compared to 19.1 per cent of all seniors.

“Residents in long-term care facilities use more drugs than those in the community because they tend to be older, more frail and sicker than seniors living in the community,” the report states. The long-term care residents were taking an average of 9.9 different classes of drugs compared to 6.7 for other seniors. A drug class refers to a group of chemicals that treat similar medical conditions, an example being opioids, which are prescribed for pain. About one in four of all seniors were found to be prescribed at least 10 different classes of drugs in 2016, which the report notes “did not change significantly” since 2011.

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Liberals balk at health scrutiny

The Ottawa Citizen, Maria Babbage, The Canadian Press

Toronto – The governing Liberals are resisting calls to grant oversight of the health-care system to the Ontario ombudsman, like every other province and territory in Canada. They’re planning to create a separate patient ombudsman instead, but it’s a weaker role that won’t make the sector more accountable to patients or their families, critics say. Mary Daskalos said she received no help when she complained about the treatment her 92-year-old mother was getting in a Toronto hospital four years ago. It was a “living nightmare”, she said. Her mother was in and out of heart failure, but the hospital wanted her out of the acute care bed and bullied her family, she said, adding they tried to sedate her mother even though she couldn’t tolerate those drugs … Her mother contracted an infection during her stay, Daskalos said. She believes the hospital didn’t protect her and complained to officials while her mother was dying. But they didn’t take any action and told her family to write a letter to the hospital patient relations representative. No investigation was launched, she said. “How can the offender possibly investigate itself?” she asked. “The only way to achieve true independent oversight is to grant the provincial ombudsman the direct power of investigation over health care. Otherwise, the abuse, the untimely deaths like my mother’s and the continued erosion of quality care in our health-care system will continue.”

Care fine but complaints system broken at Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, audit finds

Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press

Toronto – A federal audit finds the quality of care at Canada’s largest veterans home meets standards but is deeply critical of how it handles complaints and communicates with family members. The assessment, which bitterly disappointed some relatives of the most frail residents of Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, urges the facility to take immediate steps to improve a dysfunctional complaints process. “Several residents and families expressed their lack of knowledge of how to make a complaint or mistrust of the formal complaints-management system,” the audit states. “In a few cases, there was an expressed hesitancy to bring issues forward for fear of discrimination against their loved one.”

Nursing home death triggers calls for inquest

The Canadian Press

Toronto – Two organizations that represent employees in nursing homes are calling for a coroner’s inquest into the death of a resident of a Toronto long-term care facility. The Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario say an inquest would bring awareness to some ongoing problems in Ontario’s long-term care system. “These are our mothers, fathers and grandparents. If you’re not outraged by these issues, you are not paying attention,” said Candace Rennick, CUPE Secretary-Treasurer.