Seniors living in Quebec’s long-term care homes will have better quality of life. That’s the main goal of the government’s plan to overhaul the way seniors are cared for in the province.
“We want to change the culture,” said Marguerite Blais, Quebec’s minister responsible for seniors.
Blais’ plan has 25 measures, which include giving seniors more power over how they want to live their life.
“We want the patient to decide what time he wants to go and have breakfast, what time he wants to go bed,” Blais explained.
The minister wants to improve seniors’ health care by hiring more dentists and denturists, as well as more pharmacists to better manage the medications seniors are given.
“We don’t patients to be … you know, like this on a chair. We want them to be active,” Blais said.
The province is planning to spend $20 million on improving food and food services, which includes hiring cooks and nutritionists.
The patients, their caregivers and the community are at the heart of the plan.
“It’s an important step forward,” said Laura Tamblyn-Watts, CEO of CanAge, a pan-Canadian seniors advocacy group. “Not just in trying to fix the buildings in seniors care, but actually fix the relationships and that trust.”
Executing the plan will cost $2.9 billion.
Most of the money will go towards hiring staff, which comes amid a labour shortage and a difficulty retaining employees in the health-care sector.
“This plan will need a very strong initiative to bring people into the seniors care sector and we have to see if they’re serious about doing it,” Tamblyn-Watts said.
While Quebec has taken steps to hire 10,000 orderlies, FADOQ, Quebec’s largest seniors advocacy group, says the government needs to do more, especially when it comes to reducing the patient-caregiver ratio.
That ratio is an important factor, “to ensure the safety and quality of care provided to the entire population,” said Gisèle Tassé-Goodman, FADOQ’s president.
The plan is to be put into place over the next five years, but with provincial elections around the corner, advocates hope it actually comes to fruition.