ST. CATHARINES, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - March 18, 2014) - Following decades of cuts to hospitals, sick, frail Ontarians from St. Catharines to Windsor to Cornwall are being pushed out of hospital while acutely ill. Hardest hit are the elderly who are not getting the rehabilitative therapies and restorative and convalescent care they need, a report to be released in St. Catharines on March 20, 2014, has found.
The study Pushed Out of Hospital, Abandoned at Home: After Twenty Years of Budget Cuts, Ontario's Health System is Failing Patients, chronicles the qualitative experiences of hundreds of patients and their families from across Ontario, who called a 1-800 patient hotline. The report will be released Thursday March 20th at 2:00 p.m. at a media conference at the Royal Canadian Legion, 600 Ontario Street, St. Catharines.
Set up for over a period of a year, the patient hotline is a joint initiative of the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (OSLA) and the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions (OCHU), the hospital division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Over 20 years the province has cut 19,000 hospital beds, many of them assess and restore and continuing care beds, once the mainstay of convalescent care for older patients. Today access to in-hospital restorative care and rehabilitation therapies is severely reduced and the promised "outpatient" services in the community and home are non-existent.
"This leaves many elderly patients, who really should be cared for in hospital, abandoned at home, without the care and therapies they need," says OSLA's Mary Cook.
A key finding of the report is that, "far from delivering 'the right care, in the right place, at the right time,' as the Ontario's health minister claims, health reforms are failing Ontario patients, particularly the elderly, abysmally. Age discrimination is actively at play in Ontario's health care system," says OCHU's Michael Hurley.
In addition to identifying the key failings of the province's, out-of-hospital, at home care model, Pushed Out of Hospital, Abandoned at Home offers substantive solutions to make health services better for patients, particularly the elderly.