That our health services are in crisis is the understatement of the decade! Much has been written and debated on the topic and some will suggest that “it is the same in all provinces!” True only to a degree and a very lame excuse, at that.
Acute Care facilities in New Brunswick are under duress for many reasons. One of the large ones is the pressure on emergency departments and on acute care beds in which elders “waiting for a nursing home bed” are said to be a huge problem.
Indeed, New Brunswick is one of the leaders in Canada for having the highest proportion of acute care beds occupied by such frail elders, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information. Ask a social worker, a discharge planner, a physician, and the family of the patient….” we could free up those beds for occupancy by really sick people if we could get the ALC patients to a nursing home. But the nursing home wait list is huge and wait time for admission is months and months!”
Catherine Morrison’s account of the CanAge Report called attention to the poor performance in New Brunswick in dealing with Dementia, one of several diseases of aging that also impact many people under the age of 65! Many of the issues causing much grief to the public and the health system stem from the inadequate manner in which care is administered and delivered to the vulnerable.
For generations, our planners have known that the aging bubble would be here now, as it is, and that with it would come all the health issues of aging: reconstructive surgery, neurological challenges, diabetes, and ever so many more. Dementia impacts a huge percentage of the aging population and, unlike many other illnesses, it impacts the entire family. Suddenly the spouse is a caregiver with lifestyle entirely dictated by the symptoms and phase of the Dementia on the husband or wife. Volumes have been written about how this disease is so life-altering for the entire family unit that it does not need further repeating here.
Ken McGeorge, BS,DHA,CHE is a career health care executive based in Fredericton, NB, Canada.