The healthcare system of Canada is unique and different from the rest, especially the United States of America. It is a point of pride for most Canadians who like the fact that it has been supported by almost all political parties and hence has been successful since last 50 years. But is the Canadian healthcare system protecting the seniors? Are they not feeling the sting of too many health expenses that they have to bear? Read on to know how Canada’s healthcare system needs to improve for protecting the elderly against high health care cost. What steps can be taken in this regard?
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Canadian healthcare system is the long wait times. The U.S.-based Commonwealth Fund has ranked Canada as ninth or tenth for several years running. Another drawback is access to health care. While most Canadians get instant treatment for serious illnesses like heart attacks instantly, the treatment for less critical problems has them waiting for months or even years.
This is a serious problem for seniors who need treatment for shoulder, knee or ankle surgeries. Rising health care cost is also a challenge. The cost of crucial treatments is growing rapidly. For instance, the cost of cancer care was $2.9 billion in 2005, but it jumped to $7.5 billion in 2012. Even the levels of safety, effectiveness efficiency, coordination, equity, and patient-centeredness are mediocre at best.
A Big Challenge for Seniors
Chronic diseases are becoming more common than ever as more and more seniors now have one or more illnesses like dementia, diabetes, heart failure, chronic lung disease, etc. This challenge can be tackled by the Canadian healthcare system by ensuring that seniors get care at home or community venues because most seniors with chronic disease feel uncomfortable at the hospitals. Using websites like Halo Health Care to provide basic living equipment for seniors is also an option that must be promoted by the medical experts.
Another big challenge faced by Canadian seniors is that provincial insurance plans only provide limited coverage. The coverage is usually limited to hospital or physician services and doesn’t include other essentials like physiotherapy, dental care, at home care, etc. Usually, the seniors have to get insurance coverage by opting for multiple private and public insurance policies. Buying multiple policies is not possible for low-income Canadians. The cost of healthcare in Canada comes around to $6000 per citizen which is higher than many other developed countries.
How Can We Protect Elderly Against High Health Care Cost?
Enhance Information Sharing
Seniors usually have to travel from one place to another to get access to medical data, and it costs them time and money. A viable solution to this problem is to integrate data of hospitals, home care, primary care, social care, and long-term care to save time and trouble caused to seniors. An information system must be developed that holds the entire medical data of seniors and allows them to get the care they need instantly.
Focus on Better Quality
Many seniors agree that the quality of health services provided to them is not at par with the money it costs them. To enhance the quality of services rendered, the patients should be allowed to judge the quality of every service they received, and the quality of services provided should be judged rather than the amount of service provided by a healthcare facility. The focus should also be on aligning goals of medical institutions, medical professionals, care providers, and the seniors.
Send More Reminders
The healthcare system should be such that the seniors should be reminded to attend doctor’s appointments or undergo medical procedures from time to time. This will ensure that even if the senior forgets about a health issue, he or she still gets the best possible treatment. These reminders should be totally free of cost and must focus on low-income groups of people who are not as aware of health as the others are.
The people who hold power should take some bold steps to ensure that quality healthcare is provided to all citizens while giving some special privileges to the elderly. For instance, special queues for senior citizens can be created at all hospitals, pharmacies, etc. to ensure that a senior doesn’t have to wait long. Also, the seniors should be given medications at a discounted rate. The cost of discounts should be covered by the state or federal government.
Need for Education
To prepare the elderly against high health care cost, the seniors should be provided education and training on how to better manage their finances. They should get trained on topics like how to get back in the black which allows them not to be financially dependent on others. The seniors should also be educated on which health insurance plan is worth it and which one is a waste of money. It would also be good if the seniors are taught to have an emergency fund for healthcare emergencies as well.
What ideas do you think will help protect the elderly against high health care cost in Canada? Do let us know by commenting below!