Saskatoon

Sask. doctors want better seniors care raised as election issue

Saskatchewan physicians want political leaders on the campaign trail to talk more about better ways to care for seniors.

Provincial medical association says health-care system needs more geriatricians

The Saskatchewan Medical Association says the current model is sometimes very narrowly focused on long-term care. (AFP-Getty Images/Jose Manuel Ribiero)

Saskatchewan physicians want political leaders on the campaign trail to talk more about better ways to care for
seniors.

The Saskatchewan Medical Association says the current model is sometimes very narrowly focused on long-term care.

Association president Dr. Mark Brown said discussions around long-term care beds are important. But more needs to be done about seniors health-care needs.

Brown said the health-care system needs more geriatricians — doctors who specialize in treating seniors with multiple medical problems, including dementia.

He also said an improved system would, where possible, move care out of hospitals and into the community in places such as patients' homes.

"Our current system assumes episodic care and sees it as a series of separate events— frequent hospitalization and
institutionalization — when really a system of continuous, inter-professional care would be a better way to meet the needs and desires of the elderly," Brown said in a news release Monday.

Serious challenges ahead

Brown said the health-care system will experience serious challenges once baby boomers start to move through.

"The SMA is urging policy makers to start to make these kinds of changes now, so that we'll be in a better position to deal with the larger demographic pressures coming in five to 10 years."

The association, which represents 2,300 doctors, is raising issues leading up to the April 4 vote, including tobacco control and access to mental health care.

Earlier this month, the association called for legislation around e-cigarettes and a ban on all flavoured tobacco to discourage smoking among youth.

Brown pointed out that there are no Saskatchewan regulations around buying e-cigarettes, even though the products contain nicotine.

There would nothing to stop a five-year-old child from walking into a store and purchasing e-cigarettes, he said.

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