FIQ (Fédération Interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec)

Policy on residential and long-term care and services—changes expected to improve living and care conditions

Policy on residential and long-term care and services—changes expected to improve living and care conditions

The Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec–FIQ and FIQ | Secteur privé-FIQP react to the publication of the first policy on residential and long-term care and services: living environments made for us (French only). Several of the proposed orientations reflect changes that are long overdue, for which we have been waiting for years, in particular a leaning toward care and services that are tailored to patients, thus better adapted to their needs. As such, the Federations would like to highlight the changes in the approach of the Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers to integrate orientations that focus more on care and practice conditions, rather than solely on the improvement of living environments.

“Healthcare professionals are the driving force behind services in residential environments. Everyone can agree on how important it is to integrate more interdisciplinarity into care teams, as the Minister Responsible for Seniors suggests. However, nursing care is the responsibility of healthcare professionals, as stipulated in the ARHSSS. This responsibility extends from the time they arrive at their patient’s bedside to the governance in residential environments. To guarantee that seniors receive safe, dignified, attentive care, and that care quality can be controlled, clinical support must be made an integral part of the policy and subsequent action plan.  At first glance, this seems to have been neglected.”

Nancy Bédard, President, Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec

“The government claims that it learned lessons from the pandemic and that it included them in its policy, but that barely shows, especially regarding management accountability. It can and must do better. This remains a major issue, which will be especially relevant when the time comes to standardize access to care and services province-wide. There are still major challenges to seeing these changes in action. We will need to respond to the evolving needs of an ageing population and ensure the recurring financing of these orientations.”

Sonia Mancier, President, FIQ | Secteur privé-FIQP

Prioritizing ageing at home

Like the Minister Responsible for Seniors and Informal Caregivers, the Federations also believe that the solution to responding to seniors’ wishes is to facilitate ageing in place. For 15 years now, home care and services have been a priority for the government and the population, but the investments required to make it a real option are not yet on the table. The amounts allocated in the last budget are not sufficient for the Minister’s initiatives.

Insufficient staff

The pandemic revealed major shortcomings in care access, continuity, standardization, quality and safety. The policy on residential care raises these issues and the Federations expect the action plan to specify means to address them. The safe, stable framework needed for residential environments requires leverage to stabilize teams and implement attractive practice conditions, such as safe ratios, and better clinical support to attract and retain professionals. While the policy briefly mentions this, the action plan will need to have a strong staff attraction and retention strategy for this type of clinical practice. As wait lists grow and the government moves to personalize care, we will need to determine ambitious targets for long-term care recruitment. The government will have to define and deploy measures to improve care and service quality, recognize the profession, and invest more in seniors’ care.