Seniors' healthcare system complex and confusing: report

A new report commissioned by the province calls the current seniors’ healthcare system fragmented, complex and confusing.

The province is formulating a seniors' healthcare strategy

A new report has put forward recommendations for the province on how to address the healthcare needs of Island seniors. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

A new report commissioned by the province calls the current seniors' healthcare system fragmented, complex and confusing.

It says not enough is being spent on home care and that seniors lack sufficient access to healthcare and rehabilitation services.

Don Sanderson, president of the Senior Citizens' Federation of P.E.I., said that wait times are too long, and there's too many departments to deal with. 

"Well it can be a bit of frustration," he said.

"And what happens is you know, you can have a medical problem pretty quick and they're not geared for that situation."

One-stop shop

The consultants group that worked on the report interviewed 74 key stake holders, mostly people who work in the industry, and those discussions led to several recommendations.

They say P.E.I. should move away from a medical model of care, spend more on home care, and create one government portfolio for seniors.

Don Sanderson, president of the Senior Citizens' Federation of P.E.I., says many seniors would benefit from having a one-stop centre for healthcare. (Al MacCormick/CBC)

Right now community care, nursing care and home care are all separate programs.

"There's too many people in different departments," said Sanderson. 

"One person is putting it off to another person, and it gets confusing for seniors."

Another suggestion is to create a type of one-stop care centre for seniors, where they could access all kinds of services.

"It would be nice to have one location to go to that would address these situations and you would find out all the information that's available at a certain location," said Sanderson.

'A unique opportunity'

The province is working on a strategy and recently hired Michael Corman as a principal advisor for seniors' health as part of the Department of Health and Wellness.

He said the province is working towards changes in the system which will better serve seniors on P.E.I.

Principal Advisor for Seniors Health at the Department of Health and Wellness is working on a provincial strategy for seniors' healthcare. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

"We're going to be exploring a variety of different options through the seniors' health strategy process to see what we can actually do within the fiscal constraints of P.E.I.," he said.

"We have a unique opportunity here, I think to really develop policies and practices geared towards seniors."

Going forward

The province is working on a plan for seniors' healthcare and the government will likely wait for this new strategy to be released next April, before any changes are made.

Michael Corman says the report won't be a document that just collects dust, but will be a vision that will be put into practise.

"We can move forward I think in developing specific individualised programs and services for Island seniors," he said.

"We are a relatively small province."

With files from Laura Meader