By Julia Belluz - Friday, December 30, 2011 - 0 Comments
‘Tis the time of year to look back, and in reflecting on Science-ish, it seemed wise to seek out all those who made outrageously science-ish statements in 2011, and ask them why—in their claims on topics as far ranging as asbestos and home care—they completely ignored the evidence. But pulling people away from the fireplace and eggnog seemed unfair over the holidays… and unlikely to elicit constructive responses, if any at all. So instead, from the Science-ish archives, here are the year’s most offensive attacks on science, with a wish list of questions I would like to see answered about these wildly unscientific ideas:
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, November 18, 2011 at 11:34 AM - 0 Comments
An ad hoc committee of Conservative, New Democrat and Liberal MPs has released an extensive report on how government can better deal with palliative care, home care, long-term care, pain control, suicide prevention and elder abuse.
The palliative care philosophy is person-centered, family-focused and community-based. It moves us from disease or condition-specific care to person-centered care. It recognizes that the psycho-social and spiritual dimensions have profound impact upon health and well being, and that a variety of specific conditions may be operating on different levels in the chronically ill or dying person’s life. The philosophy of palliative care permeating medical culture is more important than the simple delivery of “services.” As family physicians and local nurses come to accept a palliative care philosophy, palliative care services can begin to develop organically in communities.
The committee makes 14 recommendations, ranging from calls for national strategies to specific tax and funding measures.
By Julia Belluz - Thursday, September 1, 2011 at 12:15 PM - 72 Comments
For the last several years, there’s been a lot of apocalyptic chatter about whether the aging population—or “gray tsunami”—will overwhelm the health system. That, coupled with the fact that there seems to be a shortage of hospital beds, has politicians offering up home-care services as an alternative to hospital and long-term care, and health-policy wonks pondering what a system without hospitals would look like.
This week, Ontario Health Minister Deb Matthews was the latest such politico to announce the Liberal plan to invest $60 million in home-care for seniors and the disabled. Though details about the program were not yet available, Matthews said it would offer services ranging from a health professional’s house visit, to phone and online consultations.
The supposed benefits? Improved access, more cost-effective care, reduced visits to hospital, and less pressure on long-term care facilities. As Matthews’ campaign office spokesperson put it, a hospital stay can cost $1,000 per patient per day while long-term care rings in at $150 per day.
But is the suggestion that home-care programs are an efficient alternative evidence-based? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 20, 2010 at 8:01 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. Michael Ignatieff stood to relate the concerns of another individual he’d recently met—the latest in his 33-million-part series on the lives of average Canadians. “Mr. Speaker, on Monday, at Our Lady of Lourdes High School in Guelph, a young student named Diane asked me a question,” he recalled.
Across the way, various Conservatives groaned. But the Liberal leader would not be troubling anyone on the government side to respond to Diane’s question. In fact, he had already answered for them.
“‘We’re caring for my grandmother at home. If elected, what would you do to help people for caring for the sick and elderly at home?’” Mr. Ignatieff reported this young lady as having wondered. “I replied to Diane, ‘Our answer is the family care plan.’ The Conservatives’ answer is, ‘Use your vacation time.’”
No doubt the Conservatives appreciated that Mr. Ignatieff had saved them the trouble of telling Diane that much themselves.
“The question is this,” Mr. Ignatieff continued, now seemingly speaking for himself. “How can the Prime Minister justify tax breaks for profitable corporations instead of helping families like Diane’s?” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 6:03 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The politician draws confidence not only from real or perceived demonstrations of his own righteousness, but from the real or perceived missteps of his opponent. The former may carry one forward, but it is often the latter that gets one through the day.
And so whatever the Photoshop shame of the day before, Michael Ignatieff was not ready this afternoon to let rest this matter of the sick and elderly. Indeed, he seemed only emboldened.
“Mr. Speaker,” he began en francais, “yesterday when I announced the Liberal plan for family care, the Conservatives said these families could use their holidays to care for their families.”
“Shame!” called out a voice from the Liberal side.
“They have no holidays,” Mr. Ignatieff explained. “They sacrificed their holidays.”
Why, he wondered, did the government so misunderstand? Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, October 5, 2010 at 6:58 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. The Liberals appeared in a fine mood this afternoon. Up and down they went in unison. They applauded when their leader stood, in keeping with tradition, but they applauded too when he’d finished. They were on their feet again when he finished his second question, and then once more when he’d finished his third.
And it was not merely for the exercise. Indeed, today the Liberal side had this morning managed to announce something that sounded like a plan, a promise even of what they might do were they to one day again win the right to govern. They had successfully stated a position, clearly articulated an intention. Here they were, taking a stand. And so here they stood—to demonstrate their pride, or at least to reassure each other that theirs was a good idea and in no way could this, unlike most everything else they’ve tried this decade, possibly turn badly.
Across the way though sat the Prime Minister. And in his sharp mind the Liberals surely knew a withering retort—of the sort that would eviscerate all of their carefully made plans—resided. Continue…