K McGrail | University of British Columbia
Long-term care (LTC) is but one piece of a continuum of care that stretches from living at home completely independently to the 24-hour supervision and care provided in LTC facilities. People want to stay at home as long as possible and to retain as much independence as they can, and they are often aided in doing so with informal care provided by family and friends. These realities should inform the debates around the construction of the continuum of care. Canada stands out as spending the highest proportion (among the 15 countries compared) on facility-based care. The increasing elderly population in Canada will not bring an apocalypse to the healthcare system, but caring for this population will require a redistribution of resources to increase the emphasis on home and community-based services. Our planning for just how many (if any) new long-term care beds are needed and our assessment of reasonable access to those beds need to rest on a vision for the full spectrum of care and attention to the desires of the population we are trying to serve.