Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Stephen Harper and the Shabby Treatment of Our Seniors
It was just a small story but it really bothered me. And it made me fear for this country's future.
For just like I can't stand the way the brutish Harperite cult treats our veterans.
I cannot countenance living in a Canada where our seniors are treated like this.
For that's not just an assault on the health of old people, it's an assault on their dignity. It makes you wonder how many others are being treated that way.
And what I fear the most is that it's just a harbinger of worse things to come.
Because as the President of the Canadian Medical Association noted recently, despite the best efforts of our medicare system, many seniors aren't getting the help they need, and many of our hospitals are in gridlock.
Code Gridlock means that the hospital is so full that patients can't move. Patients in emergency can't go upstairs to a bed because the beds are full. Sometimes ambulances can't offload patients into ER because it is packed - even in the hallways. Elective surgeries are cancelled. Transfers from the region are put on hold. Patient flow, as we call it, has ground to a halt.
Mostly because too many seniors are being cared for where they don't belong.
These are patients who no longer require acute care and for allintents and purposes are able to leave the hospital. More to the point – they should be leaving the hospital – not only because the beds are needed by others but because the hospital is, frankly, a toxic environment for patients who have chronic but not acute disease.
As a society, we need to step up investment in long-term care and invest much, much more in services for home and community care.
But we don't have enough decent places to move them to, or the resources to keep them in their own homes as long as possible, because we don't have a national seniors strategy. Even though we are facing a demographic tsunami.
Canada’s 5.2 million seniors represent almost 15 per cent of the population but account for almost half of all health costs.
By 2036, the 65-plus group will account for a quarter of the population, and those over 85 will quadruple. If nothing changes in our health system, seniors will account for 59 per cent of our health costs in 2031.
Which not only threatens the health and dignity of older Canadians...
But also the very survival of our medicare system.
And the reason we don't have a national seniors strategy is because Stephen Harper is shamelessly abdicating his reponsibility.
He is refusing to meet with the Premiers, or enforce national standards, even though that can only make the problem worse.
The problem is that the continued effectiveness of medicare depends on federal leadership. Only Ottawa can establish pan-Canadian standards that ensure provinces aren’t pitted against each other. Otherwise, any jurisdiction that might choose to privatize, for instance, would very likely siphon talent from the other provinces.
Moreover medicare will have to be reformed to keep pace with medical and demographic change, lest quality erode. If a central government doesn’t oversee that change, then the provinces and territories will — in 13 different directions, resulting not only in fragmentation but profound inequities.
Because as I've warned so many times before, he's more interested in killing or privatizing our medicare system, than reforming it.
No matter how much human suffering he causes...
Because he's just a rabid ideologue who knows that there is no better way to change this country beyond recognition. Or destroy the kinder gentler Canada he hates so much.
And the good news? People like me who care for and love seniors, and believe they have a right to live in health AND dignity, will not let him get away with it.
We will use all of this against him in the next election. Use it also to convince more older Canadians to vote against him rather than for him,
His monstrous cruelty will condemn him.
And if there is any justice, it will help destroy him...
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