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Friday, June 1, 2012

Conference Board of Canada report echoes Health Council findings on home care

In our recently released report, Seniors in need, caregivers in distress: What are the home care priorities for seniors in Canada, we found that many seniors with complex needs are not getting the level of care they require and many of their family caregivers are becoming distressed. 

The Conference Board of Canada’s new report, Home and community care in Canada: An economic footprint estimates the economic impact of home and community care in Canada. The report highlights the implications for businesses of their employees doubling as family caregivers, and the potential spending implications of shifting care from institutions to homes. The report estimates that the total spending on home and community care in 2010 ranged from $8.9 billion to $10.5 billion, accounting for approximately 5% of total health spending in Canada. About 3 million Canadians are estimated to have given some level of unpaid care in 2007, providing over 1.5 billion hours of home support and community care.
Research into the cost-effectiveness of integrated home care programs would facilitate policy development and improvement of care for seniors, as there is a lack of recent economic data in this area.

The Conference Board of Canada has provided some important information for governments, policy makers, and the public in terms of the financial implications of an aging population that wants to be cared for at home. The Conference Board echoes our finding that family caregivers provide the highest proportion of care, but that distressed family caregivers may have additional economic implications.
Canadian governments are recognizing that an aging population along with rising health care costs requires a greater focus on home and community care. We have profiled some innovative practices in our report that are examples of effective home care policies and programs. We encourage others to adapt and expand what’s already working to ensure that seniors and their family caregivers can live healthy and comfortable lives at home.

By: Shilpi Majumder, Policy Lead, Health Council of Canada

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