Long-term Care

Long-term care typically refers to ongoing care for individuals who can no longer fully care for themselves. Services may be continuous or intermittent, but it is generally presumed that they will be delivered for the “long term” that is, indefinitely to individuals who have demonstrated need, usually because they can no longer live in at home. Long term care straddles both health care in the form of nursing/medical care and social services in the form of income supported housing, assistance with “activities of daily living,” and the provision of recreational and social programs. Across Canada long-term care has developed differently, with different histories, in each province and territory, which means definitions and operations vary widely.

The majority of those in long-term care facilities are women and the majority of those who provide care there are also women, but what little research and policy literature there is on the state of long-term care in Canada, typically does not include a gender-specific focus.

Women and Health Care Reform coordinated a workshop in 2007 intended to identify issues for women as residents of long-term care facilities, as paid and unpaid providers of care for those in such facilities, as decision-makers about such facilities, and as family and friends of those in such care. Drawing on existing research in Canada and abroad and on the experiences of workshop participants as researchers, policy makers and providers, participants at the workshop explored differences among women as well as the common patterns and experiences for women as care providers, as residents, as family of residents and as decision-makers. The goal was to develop strategies to address the issues in terms of policy, practice, and research.

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