The Forum sur les meilleures pratiques en soutien à domicile (Forum on Best Practices in Home Care) was held last week. With great fanfare, Minister Barrette took this opportunity to announce the investment of $69 million for improving the capacity of the home care teams… money that unfortunately had already been announced during the last budget and in the agreement on the federal transfers with the Canadian government.
Given the extent of the issue of home care, an investment of $69 million is clearly disappointing. Too little to meet the growing needs of the users, in quantity and in complexness, not enough for the healthcare professionals to catch their breath out in the field. They tricked us last year with an announcement of $60 million (annonce de 60 millions $): have we seen many positive changes since then?
The minister also “revealed” during this Forum his intention to double the proportion of end-of-life patients who can die at home. Another recycled announcement because this goal was established in November 2015, when the Plan de développement des soins palliatifs et de fin de vie (Development of palliative and end-of-life care plan) was launched. We need more than rehashed plans on the home care front.
With their number juggling, the various reactions to this announcement also illustrate the complexness surrounding this file. Will there be more, or less home care provided, more, or less money allotted, more, or fewer patients who receive this care? A clear portrait requires backing up, and that is what our sheet on home care proposes, while showing that there is a reduced budget allotted to home care for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.
On May 15, I was a member of a panel at the colloque sur l’austérité et les personnes âgées: once again it was pointed out that Québec can cope with an aging population, by quickly investing more, particularly in home care. Decision-makers, researchers, physicians and healthcare professionals agree on this subject. Lastly, both the 2017-2018 Budget and the Forum sur les meilleures pratiques en soutien à domicile are added to the missed opportunities for sending a strong and courageous signal and making real progress with this issue. To see a real shift to home care, there has to be more than a turn signal…