COVID-19 has no doubt taken a toll on society and the way Canadians live but no other demographic has been harder hit than those over 75 years, our seniors.

According to the latest Government of Canada COVID-19 statistics, within a few weeks of Canada’s first imported case of COVID-19, outbreaks were identified in long-term care and seniors’ homes. As of June 10, 2020, outbreaks related to these settings are responsible for 18 per cent of cases and 82 per cent of deaths in Canada. The high mortality associated with COVID-19 in long-term care settings reflects the vulnerability of this senior population.

Bayshore HealthCare visits and cares for more than 35,000 seniors every single day in their own homes and over 245,000 home care visits every single week across Canada. Yet the amount of COVID-19 cases is dramatically lower.

Bayshore’s data shows that only 0.36 per cent of their home care clients acquired COVID-19, resulting in no deaths while under their care and only 0.1 per cent of their home care employees (or eight staff) have acquired COVID-19.

“Data clearly illustrates that seniors who live at home and receive in-home care have lower COVID-19 rates than institutionalized care,” said Maureen Charlebois, Chief Nursing & Clinical Officer at Bayshore HealthCare. “Our seniors deserve the dignity of staying in their own homes with excellent reliable care. Tragically, COVID-19 has proven that home care isn’t just a better experience, with this disease, it has vastly better health outcomes.”

“Home care provides evidenced based person-centred care leading to better health outcomes at the individual level and at a system level by alleviating the pressure on other parts of the healthcare system – hospitals and long-term care homes,” Charlebois said. “Our in-home healthcare teams are the quiet unsung heroes, especially during this COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Not only do our in-home healthcare teams care for seniors with a myriad of healthcare needs including dementia, Alzheimer’s, cancer care, and chronic disease management, they’ve also gone above and beyond their call of duty when they stepped up to help at the onset of the crisis in long-term care homes when there was no one else available to help.”

Bayshore HealthCare began preparing the organization for the possibility of a pandemic even before COVID-19 hit. They started with enhanced safety precautions, education and implemented a strict infection prevention and control program designed to prevent the spread of infection.

With the advancement of digital technology and telemedicine, Bayshore’s new digital platforms enabled nurses and other members of the healthcare team to securely and conveniently connect with seniors and their families to provide advice, support and guidance to help them better manage a medical condition or simply get answers to questions.

Canada’s National 2017 Census revealed that there are now 5.9 million seniors, compared to 5.8 million Canadians aged 14 years and under. This increase means that caring for seniors and the aging population is now than ever more important.

“It is more important now than it has ever been to have enabling policies at the Federal and Provincial level to allow seniors to stay in their own homes and receive the care they need and deserve,” said Charlebois.

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