The Rural Evidence Review project in collaboration with the BC Rural Health Network has launched a provincial survey to understand rural and remote community experiences and responses to COVID-19.
We are interested in engaging and learning from rural and remote citizens and communities across British Columbia about their communitiesâ€™ experiences of and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.Â
Participation is open to all residents of rural and remote BC communities.Â The survey is available on an ongoing basis, with no established end date.Â For individuals who do not feel comfortable to complete the online survey, there is the option to participate in a telephone interview.
The findings will be shared with rural and remote BC communities to support learning and collaboration across communities, and with health care decision-makers to support rural health care planning.
By Fran Yanor /Â Legislative Reporter Rural B.C. residents who travelled outside their community for medical care paid an average of $2,200 in out-of-pocket expenses for visits related to a single health condition between 2017 and 2020, according to a survey by UBCâ€™s Centre for Rural Health Research.
â€œWhen I actually saw the number, that blew me away,â€ said the Centreâ€™s co-director and UBC associate professor Dr. Jude Kornelsen. â€œThatâ€™s a lot of money.â€
Whereas people living in urban centres can reasonably access non-urgent care such as specialistsâ€™ consultations and diagnostic testing, those living in rural areas often need to travel long distances to receive similar care, according to the Out-of-Pocket Costs for Rural ResidentsWhen Traveling for Health Care report.
â€œThe disproportionate impact of being rural and trying to access specialist services is huge,â€ said Kornelsen. â€œMost people who are urban-dwelling donâ€™t realize this.â€
The survey findings show the severity of a problem everyone knew existed, said Ed Staples, president of the BC Rural Health Network, a cross section of rural community organizations advocating for health care policy improvements.
â€œWhat we didnâ€™t have was the evidence, the facts, the data, to support what we already knew.â€
For some people itâ€™s an inconvenience, Staples said. â€œBut on the other end of the spectrum, people are actually not getting the care that they need because they canâ€™t afford it. And thatâ€™s wrong.â€
Next Steps The next step is to use this document as a starting point, said Staples. â€œIt needs to be the beginning of discussion so that we come up with solutions.â€
Kornelsen envisions pulling together a multi-disciplinary team to figure out how to correct the situation.
â€œWe have to figure out where the locus of change is,â€ said Kornelsen, â€œbecause right now we donâ€™t know which policy needs to change.â€ To read the full article, click on:
The pandemic has highlighted worse outcomes and more deaths in for-profit care homes.
In May, Orchard Villa, a long-term care home in Pickering, Ont.,Â made headlinesÂ for a bad COVID-19 outbreak. Just two months into Ontarioâ€™s lockdown, 77 patients in the 233-bed home had died.Â A reportÂ by Canadaâ€™s military revealed horrifying conditions, short staffing and neglect.
Some family members blamed for-profit ownership, arguing that COVID-19 had simply exposed, in tragic fashion, the impact of prioritizing profits in the operation of seniors housing.
Notably, Orchard Villa had been purchased in 2015 by private equity firmÂ Southbridge Capital, adding it to Canadaâ€™s growing stock of â€œfinancializedâ€ seniorsâ€™ housing â€” bought by financial firms as an investment product.
The Council of Canadians is calling on governments across the country to do more to support and protect both the residents of long-term care and those who work to care for them.
Jan Malek July 2020 I recently had the opportunity to participate in a video conference where long-term care workers from across the country spoke about their experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak in Canada. Their stories echoed with sadness and frustration as they described the tragedy that has transpired in many homes across the country.
Canadaâ€™s shameful record of COVID fatalities in long-term care is the highest of all developed country in the world. A report by the Canadian Institute of Health Information found that â€œthe proportion of deaths occurring in long-term care (LTC) is double the OECD average.â€ It is a national tragedy that cannot be ignored, especially as the threat of another wave of COVID-19 infections looms.
Workers in long-term care homes have unique insights on what is needed to avoid additional tragedies. Governments should be listening to their experiences closely â€“ not to the managers or the corporate faces representing the homes â€“ but the people who work and provide care in the homes (and whenever possible, the people who live in them too).