Care beds not enough

As a citizen who is too rapidly approaching my senior years I am more than a little insulted that the general consensus during the election seems to be the best we can do for seniors is to ensure there is a nursing home bed waiting for us.

As a citizen who is too rapidly approaching my senior years I am more than a little insulted that the general consensus during the election seems to be the best we can do for seniors is to ensure there is a nursing home bed waiting for us.

Seniors health care can be complex and not always amenable to the busy walk-in clinic setting. Have government officials and AHS considered adequately compensating geriatricians or GPs who choose to specialize in geriatrics, taking in to account that intervention with this population is sometimes more time-consuming and requiring co-ordination of a team?

Does the acute care system adequately recognize and treat frailty and fall risk — both of which are major determinants of nursing home admission? Does the Red Deer hospital have a geriatric assessment and rehab unit and do we have adequate physiotherapy available in home care, assisted living and nursing homes to actually make a difference in the safe mobility and quality of life of seniors?

In our rush to empty beds in acute care are we discharging elderly clients too quickly to assisted living and nursing homes without adequate professional support on site? Would seniors be better served by providing them access to an allied health team at home or in a geriatric day program where they can work at their own pace with physiotherapists, dieticians etc.?

Does the Red Deer Primary Care Network have access to rehab professionals who can not only provide early recognition of frailty and fall risk but provide the specific treatment for the mobility issues involved and possibly prevent some of the frequent emergency and acute care readmissions?

Does the government provide funding for nurse practitioners in assisted living and nursing homes?

Our EMS system has almost become a taxi service between these sites and emergency — though both the EMS staff and emergency doctors were always gracious and professional when my mother needed them, in some instances, access to a professional on site may have provided more timely treatment and certainly been less costly than an ambulance trip.

We have specialty clinics for multiple sclerosis, bariatrics, cardiac care, etc., where clients can access several professionals at one time.

I would guess we have more seniors in Red Deer than all the clients in all of the specialty clinics, but have we provided them with an equal service?

There is ample research that proves this is cost effective, improves quality of life for seniors, reduces hospital and nursing home admissions and overall medical care costs.

The School of Public Health at the University of Alberta and the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research state that in 2003 our region had the fourth highest fall-related admission rate in the province, with a cost of $6.2 million dollars, and if unchecked that will rise to $16.5 million by 2033. That is for seniors falls alone!

The province spent $88 million with a projected cost of $250 million by 2033. If we could provide centralized, professional seniors care with an emphasis on prevention and rehabilitation that would support seniors staying in their homes longer, we might reduce EMS calls, reduce time for seniors in emergency, reduce time in acute care — and maybe reduce the need for so many nursing home beds.

I am a licensed physiotherapist working in Red Deer in long-term care but I would like to make it clear that these are my personal comments as a member of the public and are in no way reflective of or connected to my employer.

Diane Tatarnic,

Red Deer

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Photo from Town of Sylvan Lake Facebook page
Sylvan Lake communities band together on development plan

Sylvan Lake Intermunicipal Development Plan expected to be approved next spring

Tribe restaurant owner Paul Harris, left, consults with manager Brandon Bouchard about how to proceed under pandemic rules that make it hard for eateries to be profitable. (Contributed photo).
New pandemic rules deemed workable for Red Deer retailers

Stricter COVID-19 reduction measures introduced in lead-up to Christmas

Quentin Lee Strawberry
Man accused in 2019 Red Deer murder will stay behind bars

Quentin Strawberry going to trial next year on second-degree murder charge

Dow Chemicals employees recently volunteered at Habitat for Humanity's Blackfalds project. The federal government announced Wednesday that it is also supporting the affordable housing project. Photo contributed
Habitat for Humanity gets funding for Blackfalds housing project

Habitat for Humanity’s Blackfalds housing project will get some support from the… Continue reading

City of Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer (Advocate file photo).
Veer urges indoor mask wearing immediately

We must protect hospital capacity and each other, says Tara Veer

The Alberta government passed new, stricter COVID-19 measures across the province on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Here’s a list of Alberta’s new COVID rules

The Alberta government has provided a list of new COVID-19 measures to… Continue reading

A
Red Deer Games Foundation adjusts grant program due to COVID-19 pandemic

The Red Deer Games Foundation announced Wednesday that it will allow athletes… Continue reading

In this undated photo issued by the University of Oxford, a volunteer is administered the coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, in Oxford, England. Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said Monday Nov. 23, 2020, that late-stage trials showed its coronavirus vaccine was up to 90% effective, giving public health officials hope they may soon have access to a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to distribute than some of its rivals. (University of Oxford/John Cairns via AP)
POLL: When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will you get the shot?

When a COVID-19 vaccine is available, will you get the shot?… Continue reading

The tournament was cancelled because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Image courtesy of WHL)
2020 WHL Cup cancelled

A tournament featuring the top under 16 male hockey prospects in Western… Continue reading

TORONTO, ON - DECEMBER, 7  - Susan Delacourt
Logo headshots of Toronto Star staff shot in Star studio.
December 7, 2015
Opinion: Don’t blame Trump for vaccine wait

Canadians will be getting COVID-19 vaccinations after Americans, Justin Trudeau has admitted,… Continue reading

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

QMJHL Roundup: Armada down Olympiques to extend win streak to seven games

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Nashville SC ends Toronto FC’s season with stunning 1-0 extra time upset

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Juve, Barça, Chelsea, Sevilla advance in Champions League

Most Read