Today, the Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW) released ‘Don’t Go Back: Do Better,’ that makes recommendations necessary to not only improve long term care standards and efficiency but also increase dignity and safety for all those in Canada.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen horrific outcomes in long-term care settings across this country, and folks are rightly outraged” said CASW President Joan Davis-Whelan. “But while these situations are often painted as a result of COVID-19, in reality, the issues in this sector are systemic – long-term care has long been neglected by the federal government, and people are suffering because of it.”
Despite long term care being primarily a provincial and territorial jurisdiction, CASW’s recommendations target areas for federal leadership, investment, and accountability:
- Increase federal funding for long-term care to, at minimum, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average.
- Create a new Demographic Top Up Transfer.
- Develop a Safe Long-Term-Care Act collaboratively with the provinces and territories to create enhanced national standards and incentivize and encourage the use of social workers in all LTC settings.
- Fund options to live and age in place.
- Co-create a new Framework for Indigenous Long-Term Care.
CASW highlights the essential importance of Registered Social Workers (RSW) in all long-term care settings. “From intake, to assessment, counselling, group work, discharge planning, and more – RSWs are highly educated, qualified professionals with a diversity of skills that make them in critical demand for all long-term care environments,” said Davis-Whelan.
Finally, CASW speaks to a necessary philosophical shift in the sector towards a more person-centered, flexible, and holistic approach to care. It’s clear that what we’re currently doing isn’t working – we need dedicated funding, increased accountability, enhanced standards and, crucially, the inclusion of a holistic social work perspective to forge a better long term care future in this country,” concluded Davis-Whelan. “We can’t just ‘recover,’ and go back to the way things were – we must do better.”