A study published on September 21st compared the performance of elderly care in Canada with other wealthy nations, using data from the Commonwealth Fund, a U.S.-based organization that aims to improve healthcare systems and identify areas for improvement.
Among the surveyed countries, Canada ranked 8th in elderly care, just ahead of France, the UK, and Sweden.
The study found that most provinces exceeded the international average in care processes, including factors such as coordination among healthcare providers and patient engagement. However, they lagged behind the international average in terms of fairness and access to care, including factors like wait times.
Access to healthcare services is a barrier for low-income elderly individuals.
15% of elderly individuals in Canada do not visit a dentist, and 8% do not receive the necessary home care services because they cannot afford it.
Four provinces – P.E.I., Ontario, Manitoba, and Alberta – were considered to have scores above the international average in general, while some provinces – especially Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec – had lower scores.
The study also analyzed countries like Germany and the Netherlands, which ranked higher than Canada in elderly care services, to draw inspiration for domestic solutions.
The Netherlands stood out for its good access to after-hours care services compared to other nations. This is because doctors in the Netherlands are required to provide a minimum of 50 hours of after-hours care each year to maintain their licenses.
Germany has the highest elderly health status. The reason is that the country excels in maintaining the health of its population and has better preventive measures in place, making their elderly population healthier from the outset. Therefore, they require less care, helping to address issues related to access and wait times. The federal government predicts that the elderly population, those aged 65 and older, will increase and make up nearly a quarter of Canada’s total population by 2040. This could further strain Canada’s healthcare system and increase the need to prioritize elderly care.