Statistics Canada: Canadians' home care needs not being met

In 2012, nearly 800,000 Canadians reported that their home health care needs were either unmet or only partially met.

Ottawa (10 Sept. 2014) — A recent report from Statistics Canada found that in 2012, more than 792,000 Canadians over the age of 15 years old who needed home health care "for a long-term illness, aging or disability condition" had their needs only partly met or not met at all." The full report is available here.

Survey identifies two groups

Statistics Canada divided those surveyed into two groups. The first, with approximately 461,000 individuals, needed care at home to deal with a long-term illness, aging or disability condition, but did not receive any care.

The second, with about 331,000 individuals, received care at home for a long-term illness, aging or disability condition but reported they did not receive all the care they needed.

These numbers were compared with 1.8 million Canadians who were care recipients, in 2012, and who reported that they received all the care they needed.

Younger individuals more often report that their needs are not met

The survey found that older individuals (65 and older) who needed care were more likely to have their needs met than were those who were younger. 

The younger people surveyed whi gad unmet homecare needs were less likely to report physical problems (such as vision, hearing, speech, mobility, pain or dexterity problems) than were other care recipients.

However, individuals with unmet needs and those who had received care were just as likely to report that they suffered from pain or discomfort. This was the case for more than half of the individuals in both groups.

Other factors also at play

The survey also found that other socio-economic characteristics increased the likelihood of having unmet home care needs. In particular, immigrants and people from lower-income households were more likely to report that they had unmet home care needs.

In addition, Canadians with certain types of health conditions or problems were more likely to report that their needs were partially met. For example, of those with back problems, 30% reported that they had not received all the help they needed, compared to only 11% among those who received care because of cancer.

Gaps in help received

Many Canadians with unmet or only partially met needs are relying on the support of family and friends. However, in those instances where family or friends were the primary caregivers, the individuals more often reported that not all their needs were being met.  

While receiving professional help was associated with lower reports of unmet needs, there was still a significant gap between care required and that received.  About 10% of those who received professional care of at least 10 hours a week reported needs were met compared with 16% among those who received less than 10 hours of professional help a week.

Adverse effects for persons with unmet or partially met needs

The impact of unmet care needs on individuals was found to be significant.  In particular, those who lacked sufficient levels of home care reported lower levels of mental well-being than did those who received all the care they needed. These problems included feelings of loneliness, sleeping problems and feelings of stress.

More information:

Study: Canadians with unmet home care needs, 2012

Create a National Home Care Program


The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE

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