Editorial: Too many seniors going to hospital

A chilling study about the deaths of seniors who are living in care homes deserves careful study. If its numbers are correct, health authorities have to find the cause.

B.C. seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a report on Wednesday that found that seniors who live in a facility run by a private company or non-profit organization are 32 per cent more likely to be sent to a hospital emergency department. Once there, those seniors have a 54 per cent higher chance of dying at the hospital than those who live in a care home run by a public health authority.

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The people who run private care homes dispute the findings and say Mackenzie’s work should be checked.

Certainly, numbers that alarming should be checked, not only to make sure they are correct, but also to get a better understanding of what is going on in care homes.

With the numbers in dispute, the first step is to confirm them through further research or by demonstrating to the care homes that the study is valid.

If the numbers are supported, the big question is: Why? Mackenzie’s report doesn’t answer that, but speculated that it might have something to do with the mix of skills among staff at the different types of care homes.

The cause is likely to be more complex than that, but this is not a question that can be set aside. If seniors are going to hospital more often than necessary, everyone has a stake in fixing the problem.

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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