New questions in the 2017 edition of the New Brunswick Health Council’s Primary Health Survey have brought to light a large gap between the demand for home care services in New Brunswick and those who receive them.
For the first time, the NBHC’s survey asked 14,500 New Brunswickers aged 18 and older who live in their own homes questions to estimate the need for home care services in the province. Based on their responses, an estimated 38,000 New Brunswickers were identified as needing home care services and 42% of those would have needs that were partially or completely unmet.
“The previous edition of our Home Care Survey had identified that a number of clients had needs that were only partially met,” explained Stéphane Robichaud, CEO of the NBHC. “This led us to question whether there might be similar unmet need among the population in general, so we modified our largest survey to capture that. The amount of unmet need was unexpected.”
In discussions with the organizations responsible for the Extra-Mural, Long Term Care, and Disability Support Programs, it became evident that unmet need must be highlighted.
“The NBHC felt that we had to draw attention to the unmet need as well as call on the organizations to make someone accountable for validating it and responding to it,” said Robichaud. “If as a province we want people to remain in their homes as they age, failing to consider these needs will increase the challenge before us.”
The most commonly identified types of home care needs included home support services such as cooking, cleaning and other assistance, as well as medical services such as nursing or other care. The NBHC will be following with the results of the 2018 edition of its Home Care Survey in late February, to report on the quality of services being offered and how they impact clients.
The NBHC has been established as an independent organization that measures, monitors and evaluates New Brunswick’s health care system performance and population health, and that engages citizens in the improvement of health service quality.