There are two certainties in life – death and taxes, said Professor Tamara Daly at the most recent research celebration at York. Her research focuses on how to better use taxes to make the last few years of life better for those in long-term care in residential settings.
Daly, of the School of Health Policy & Management, was one of five researchers who presented their work. She pinpointed a critical lack of minimum staffing standards at publicly funded long-term care homes and a 19,000-strong waiting list. The current trend, she said, is to hire personal support workers (PSWs) to further support those in understaffed long-term care residential facilities, but also to employ volunteers and family members as secondary supports. Daly is currently principal investigator on the Invisible Women project, funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. Her team is exploring how occupational health and safety and the division of labour are affected by the informal care provided by people other than those employed at the facility, usually women.
She left audience members with several troubling questions about the state of health policy in the Canadian context, including: Should care be a part of Canadian citizenship? What are the minimum staffing requirements for safety? There were once minimal staffing levels in Ontario, but those were eliminated in the mid-1990s, said Daly. Later this year, she will travel to Norway, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom with her research team to explore how long-term care is handled in other jurisdictions to determine if practices elsewhere can inform changes to current regulations in Canada.
Professor Joe Baker of the School of Kinesiology & Health Science followed up Daly’s research on long-term care facilities by exploring the question of “What are we capable of?” by studying human development and capacity and the implications for older adults.