Canadian Data Shows 1 in 9 Nursing Home Residents Could Have Been Cared for at Home

Some people in nursing home facilities could be cared for at home. A recent study in Canada shows as many as 1 in 9 could be at home.

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Canadian Data Shows 1 in 9 Nursing Home Residents Could Have Been Cared for at Home
3 Min Read July 29th, 2021

Few people would question that most individuals would prefer to remain in their homes when they need long-term health care. In Canada, some individuals suffering from mild or moderate health conditions or physical limitations are receiving care in a nursing home even though they could have been cared for at home with the proper support.

In the United States, many people in nursing homes could be cared for in-home or in assisted living. Some are in nursing homes because they have little or no income or assets and receive Medicaid benefits. In other situations, families did not explore other care options for their loved one. 

As more people require help with daily activities or need supervision due to cognitive decline, the demand for long-term health care is increasing. More families will demand choice, but the financial and physical pressure on loved ones can limit available options. 

Home Care Provides Better Care Experience

Mélanie Josée Davidson - Director, Health System PerformanceMélanie Josée Davidson, Director of Health System Performance with the Canadian Institute for Health Information, says that staying at home for as long as possible can offer many people a better experience.

In addition, it helps ensure that long-term care beds are maintained for those with complex needs who require full-time care. 

The study says that in Canada, those who live in rural areas were over 50% more likely than those living in urban areas to be admitted to a long-term care facility when they potentially could have been cared for at home. 

People living alone were twice as likely as those living with family members to be cared for in a facility even if their needs would otherwise not require more institutional care.

More Women Than Men

Similar to other new residents, 3 in 5 are women, and over 50% are age 85 and older. (Source: CIHI, 2019)

More women are admitted to long-term care in Canada since, on average, women live longer than men. Because of this, they are more likely to live alone and less likely to have an unpaid family caregiver who can provide support when needed. Again, this forces more people to get more institutional care when other care options would be appropriate. 

In Canada, long-term care is part of the province's health care system and is publicly funded on a cost-shared basis with residents. While the government funds personal and nursing care, residents are responsible for their own accommodation costs, such as room and board.

Long-Term Health Care Costs Soaring

Canada's National Institute on Ageing (NIA) says that long-term care costs are expected to more than triple to $71 Billion (Canadian dollars) by 2050. The NIA projections show there will be 30% fewer unpaid caregivers in Canada available to provide unpaid support to those who would require extended health care services.

The costs of both in-home care services and facility care are increasing in Canada due to greater demand. This is a trend that will continue for decades to come. Long-Term Care Insurance is available in Canada, but many Canadians are unaware of its availability or the need for protection.

Private in-home care in Canada is common for people that do not qualify for publicly funded home care. The cost of care varies depending on location and the number of services required; however, in Ontario, in-home care can run between $28 and $35 per hour CAD. Most providers will require a minimum daily charge. 

Family Caregivers Untrained and Unprepared for Role

No matter where you live, family members are usually unprepared and untrained to provide care for a parent. It is challenging to balance the responsibilities of a person's job and family with that of being a care provider. Plus, consider the physical and emotional demands on family caregivers. 

Yet, surveys always suggest that people wish to age in their own homes. Few people start thinking about their changes in health and aging until it becomes too late for any planning to be done. 

It is always best to consider aging before a person gets old. Thinking about long-term health care is no different.

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Editor's Note

There are Long-Term Care Insurance plans available in Canada. In the United States, there are numerous options available for families to plan for the costs and burdens of aging. 

Resources to Help Research Policy Options

Use the tools available on LTC NEWS to help you in your research. 

The resources include the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator that shows you both the current and future cost of care services where you live.

You can use the many resources on LTC NEWS to help in your research - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News 

Need Care Now? Need Help with LTC Insurance Claims?

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LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation. Click here. You can also obtain help finding caregivers and getting recommendations for a proper plan of care, whether a person has a policy or not.

Reverse Mortgages Can Be Part of a Plan

If you find most of your assets are tied to your home, today's reverse mortgages might help as the solution for either funding Long-Term Care Insurance or paying for care. Learn more here.

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