Better with Age: A conversation about healthcare with older Canadians

Report on the public consultation held in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 21, 2011

Final report (1.35 MB) 

In October and November 2010, CHSRF hosted six Better with Age regional roundtables1 to examine the most pressing policy challenges and research gaps related to population aging. These sessions brought together policy-makers, healthcare executives, researchers, and citizen representatives from across the country. Participants at the roundtables stressed the importance of including citizens in discussions on healthcare reform.

In response, CHSRF hosted a small, structured public consultation at the Vancouver Public Library in Vancouver, British Columbia on February 21, 2011. Fifteen participants were recruited through the Council of Senior Citizens Groups of British Columbia, Vancouver Coastal Health’s Community Engagement Branch, the British Columbia Health Coalition, and Simon Fraser University Seniors’ Outreach Project, yielding a well-informed group of older Canadians with a variety of perspectives.

The consultation was structured around two of the major themes that emerged from the Better with Age roundtables – creating coordinated, integrated systems of care and attitudes and values about the healthcare system.

Key Messages

An integrated, coordinated system of care with emphasis on home and community supports would be more cost-effective and result in less hardship for older adults and all Canadians.

Older adults themselves may be less interested in “special treatment” than in ensuring the healthcare system as a whole works for everyone, including older adults.

“Don’t plan for seniors; plan with seniors.”

Conclusion

Participants echoed many of the views expressed by policy-makers, healthcare executives and researchers during the Better with Age roundtables CHSRF hosted in the fall of 20102. These included:

  • The need to create more positive, non-ageist attitudes about older adults.
  • The importance of including patients as active participants in their healthcare planning process.
  • The need to promote better home care, community care and support services in order to produce better health outcomes and improve the sustainability of the healthcare system.
  • The need for more accountability at the federal, provincial and territorial levels – an important ingredient for improving all healthcare services.
  • The need to advance more health promotion and prevention initiatives.
  • The need to improve communication among different healthcare providers and between healthcare providers and patients to promote better coordinated, integrated care.

The group also brought forward issues that had been less prevalent at the roundtable series. These included:

  • Fears over affordability of non-publicly provided healthcare. Participants were concerned that they are expected to pay out-of-pocket for services that are not covered under the Canada Health Act, such as home care and support services.
  • Inadequate food and nutrition in healthcare settings, particularly long-term care homes. Healthy food is often inaccessible, food preparation methods are of poor quality, and healthcare providers often do not ensure patients are eating meals.

CHSRF believes it is important to include citizen input in discussions on health system change and will share this report with decision-makers, policy-makers, healthcare providers and administrators, researchers, citizens and others.