SENIORCENTRIC WEEK ENDING SEPT 18, 2021

Scanning the globe for news by, for and about Senior Citizens

Quotables:

Findings from several recent public opinion polls once again confirm that adequately funding healthcare services remains a top issue that will influence the voting choice of Canadians during this federal election.

HealthCareCAN
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These charts show how much more often unvaccinated Albertans are being hospitalized and dying from COVID-19

Recent rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and death among unvaccinated Albertans have been at least eight times higher — and as much as 60 times higher — compared to the fully vaccinated population, depending on which age range you look at.

That’s according to a new CBC News analysis of data published by the provincial government.

Data experts with Alberta Health reviewed the analysis and confirmed the methodology as an effective way to compare severe outcomes relative to both vaccination status and age — while also accounting for the population sizes of each group.

These types of comparisons can be tricky, because the risk of severe outcomes increases with age, but so too does the rate of vaccination. As such, population-wide comparisons don’t tell the full story.

For example, it’s often reported that unvaccinated Albertans make up just 32 per cent of the population but a whopping 74 per cent of the COVID-19 patients in hospital. But this actually under-represents the risk for unvaccinated adults, because a huge proportion of the unvaccinated population is made up of children who are both ineligible for the vaccine and unlikely to end up in hospital.

Breaking the data down by age helps to better understand how things compare among the vaccinated versus the unvaccinated.

“Age, in particular, really controls a few outcomes here in the province,” said Dr. Craig Jenne, a professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary.

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How can we start to make Canada’s long-term care homes about care, not profit?

In July 2020, 26 people died in a single for-profit long-term care home (LTC) in Ontario. These people did not die of COVID-19, but from dehydration and neglect. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for LTC residents, whether they were sickened from the virus or suffered from the pre-existing conditions it exposed. Of the more than 27,000 people who have died of COVID-19 in Canada, 18,000 (or two-thirds of the total) died in LTC and retirement homes. Those who died were elders, from the generation that gave Canada its public health-care system, but many died in homes run for profit.

Three in five Canadians believe for-profit care for our elders should be reduced or phased out entirely. During this federal election, most political parties have raised the urgency of improving eldercare, and rightfully so. But the importance of phasing out profit-driven seniors’ care has not received the attention it deserves.

Canadians want care to be the sole focus of LTC. But the reality is different. In British Columbia, 37 per cent of LTCs are for-profit, and that share is rising. Ontario has the highest percentage in the country at 57 per cent.

There is strong evidence that for-profit homes, on average, provide inferior care, not to mention poor working conditions. In Ontario, for-profit LTC homes have higher death rates compared with non-profit homes; those owned by corporate chains performed the worst. Across the country and in multiple provinces, for-profit homes were over-represented among homes that had COVID outbreaks and also experienced higher death rates from the virus.

While people were dying, for-profit corporate chains Extendicare, Sienna Senior Living and Chartwell Retirement Residences collectively distributed nearly $171 million to their shareholders. Meanwhile, they received $138.5 million in pandemic-related subsidies from the federal government. This form of ownership – in which long-term care is treated not only as a business, but also as a real estate investment for shareholders – is unacceptable. How can we permit extracting profits when that contributes to unsafe and inadequate staffing levels, and ultimately the suffering and death of our elders?

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Erin O’Toole defends single-dosed candidate’s visit to seniors’ home

 Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole is defending one of his candidates who visited a long-term care home despite only receiving one COVID-19 vaccine dose.

On Thursday, Michelle Ferreri, the Conservative candidate for Peterborough-Kawartha, tweeted a photo of herself speaking to some constituents at Princess Gardens Retirement Residence in Peterborough, Ont.

On Saturday, O’Toole was asked whether he thought it was acceptable for candidates who weren’t fully vaccinated to meet with potential voters.

“We need to get that vaccination rate up. These are personal decisions but they’re critical decisions,” said O’Toole, during a campaign stop in in Whitby, Ont.

“We also have a campaign rule that people will be using vaccines and daily testing, along with all other masking and distance efforts to keep people safe in a campaign in the fourth wave of a pandemic.”

O’Toole, a vocal supporter for COVID-19 vaccines but who is against vaccine mandates, also doubled down on how important, safe and effective the shots are.

“I encourage everyone to get vaccinated — the first dose and the second dose — and we’re going to need boosters in the coming months,” said O’Toole, before he criticized Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau for calling the federal election during a pandemic.

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