Canadians have not been reassured by the actions taken to protect seniors in long-term care homes during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A survey for the National Institute on Ageing and the Canadian Medical Association on the way long-term care homes were affected during the second wave of the pandemic found most Canadians (86 per cent) are concerned about what’s happened.

That number increases to 97 per cent for Canadians 65 years and older.

Dr. Samir Sinha of the NIA says the response seen during the pandemic’s second wave has done little to restore peoples’ faith in the long-term care sector.

“Canadians are telling us that they’ll do anything necessary to avoid having to move into a LTC home, and that they want governments to make up for lost time and act urgently to improve the state of long-term care.”

Eighty-five per cent of all Canadians surveyed – and 96 per cent of Canadians aged 65 years and older – report that they will try to avoid moving into an LTC home.

Three-quarters (73 per cent) of Canadians believe that the high number of deaths in LTC homes related to COVID-19 could have been reduced if governments had acted sooner.

Less than half believe that federal, provincial, and territorial governments have learned from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and will work to ensure minimal loss of life moving forward.

Canadians also have no illusions that challenges faced by long-term care homes are the result of COVID-19.

Over 80 per cent believe the problems predate the pandemic and COVID-19 only made them worse.

Ninety-two per cent of Canadians aged 65 years and older feel the problems in long-term care homes were evident before the pandemic.

Dr. Ann Collins, president of the CMA says, “our healthcare systems were not originally designed to meet the needs of an aging population” and there is a limited window to prevent future tragedies in long-term care facilities.