Sunday, 5 May 2013

What are your expectations of the healthcare system?

Middle class journalists writing about middle class folks facing healthcare issues.
It's not a happy mix. High expectations for some sort of 24/7 care.

Help falls far short for 'living widows' of dementia patients

-Dave Brown
 They are prisoners of love who work 24 hours a day without pay or benefits, and thousands live among us unable to plead their cases because they’re kept out of sight. 

 As with many of my clients, the middle class expect more for less. Sob stories of women acting as caregivers for husbands with dementia. Compared to many of my clients, who live in filth, who hoard, who cannot afford a meal out, who live on disability, I really have no sympathy for a journalist trying to garner 'awareness' for a topic such as this. Think of the family whose elementary-aged kids must stay at home on a bad day because Dad is having health issues, mom works for an hourly wage, and she is the only breadwinner. The cases are horrible if you are poor, working class, or living far away from family. The middle class don't want tax increases, they want big dividends from investments. They want outsourcing, and they have a sense of entitlement. They have no idea what it means to be poor and sick.

"What happens to the spouses of dementia patients is unfair, and unless we demand changes now, we’re next."

Life isn't 'fair'.

This particular woman is caring for her husband, but he does not know her anymore. Brown's column waxes eloquently about the issue. He claims that she is house bound ('enforced incarceration'), yet she has a paid support worker there for a couple of hours a day and she meets with 3 other women in similar circumstances. That's not 'enforced incarceration'.

Willard lives alone. His name in on a list for LTC.
In the LHIN next to us, Champlain (which includes Ottawa), Brown cites 13,600 patients with dementia, and he says that 94% are cared for at home and most by a woman. I find, in my local long-term care, many people with dementia. There is a men's group that meets in the TV room, with their wives who have dementia, and they have a grand time. Many cannot cope at home with a spouse who has dementia. Many are aphasic, and unable to communicate. We cannot give people the expectation that they should care for a loved one at home with dementia. Often, it is impossible. The disease trajectory is terrible and include anger, agitation, and incontinence.

If, in the Champlain LHIN were were able to pay for caregivers: personal support workers (PSW) at $12 and hour, the system would be bankrupt. The couple about whom he writes are both retired civil servants on indexed pensions. This couple married 'in sickness and in health'. Brown calls for volunteers and more donations. 

1 comment:

Kay said...

This is a difficult issue and I don't know what to say. It is a worry as my husband and I age. My mother is fortunate actually because she's got my brother, me and my husband to help her.