Planning for Canadian human resource needs in chronic home care: policy implications of projected needs 2001-2031

Janice Keefe, Mount Saint Vincent University
Samuel Vézina, Université de Montréal
Marc-Antoine Busque, Université de Montréal
Yann Décarie, Université de Sherbrooke and Université de Montréal
Jacques Légaré, Université de Montréal

Canadian policy makers are increasingly interested in planning for the inevitable increase in home care services that will be fuelled by population aging and community care policy. Our goal is to advance understanding of the patterns and predictors of disability and support among the population aged 65+ and use this information to project future health human resources. Using the 2002 General Social Survey, logistic regressions estimated the probability of an individual with specific characteristics of having a specific level of disability and those with a long term health problems using one of three types of support networks (formal, informal, or mixed). These parameters were applied at five-year intervals in Statistics Canada LifePaths microsimulation model to project future demand. When looking at the population needing assistance, the micro-simulations show an increase from 630,000 to over 1.3 millions between 2006-2031. Results also show an increase in the proportion of elderly having to rely exclusively on the formal network (40% in 2006 to 44% in 2031. By applying the median amount of assistance per week by age and sex (GSS 2002) to the projected population who will receive assistance, the number of hours per week received is projected to double from 3.1 million hours per week in 2001 to 7.1 million in 2031. This trend is most pronounced among the 85+ in that the amount of assistance is projected to triple from 1.2 to 3.1 million hours per week between 2001- 2031. Despite recognition of the steady increase in demand for home care, Canada has made little headway in developing consensus on policy directions. A discussion of the policy implications of these findings will highlight the need for greater recognition, better working conditions and career paths for front-line home support workers who provide the majority of care among paid home care providers.

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Presented in Session 17: Care for Older Persons: Needs and Implications