The country’s largest seniors’ organization slammed the Legault government’s economic update for lack of investment in home care services, but a few days later changed course, applauding Health Minister Christian Dubé’s announcement of a $100 million investment in home care as a big relief for many seniors.
“There has been a big disruption in the continuum of care since the beginning of the pandemic,” says the president of the Réseau FADOQ, Gisèle Tassé-Goodman. “Our members have seen a significant decline in their home care service. In the current context, this recurrent funding from the Québec government will put a balm on the nightmare experienced by many seniors.”
Réseau FADOQ stressed that Quebec has a significant gap to make up in terms of investment in home care services compared to other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries: Quebec spends 1.3% of its gross domestic product on long-term care for seniors, it says, well below the 1.7% average reported by other OECD countries, something the group calls “incomprehensible since Québec is one of the most rapidly aging societies in the West.”
“This is a good signal, but we must continue our efforts, especially since the vast majority of Quebecers want to stay in their homes as long as possible,” says Tassé-Goodman.
The funding was deemed insufficient, however, by the Federation of Health and Social Services (FSSS-CSN), which is calling for more investment in and consolidation of the public sector to enable seniors and people with disabilities to stay at home as they wish.
“If the announcement of recurrent funding is to be welcomed, the size of the investment will not be able to sufficiently improve services to the population,” reads a union statement. “The money invested by the government must be directed to the public network to ensure a better organization of services for users and users. In recent years, several disturbing stories have shown the limits of private health care, particularly in-home support.”
High staff turnover is an issue that harms the quality of services, and is one reason the FSSS-CSN is calling for the integration of home support workers into the public sector, and improved working and wage conditions for public sector home support workers in order to attract and retain staff. The union says home support should be organized around CLSC multidisciplinary teams, “the best way to adjust services according to the needs of users.”