Home care spread thin, seniors’ advocate says

Growing number of seniors outpacing home care services, Health Minister Terry Lake acknowledges

B.C. Seniors' Advocate Isobel Mackenzie

Health ministers across Canada say expanding community and home care is the best way to serve a growing senior population, but total home care hours declined last year in three out of five B.C. health regions.

That’s one of the findings in the first annual report on seniors’ services by B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Despite growing senior populations across B.C., the report found the total hours of home support delivered to clients was down four per cent in Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coastal health regions, and down 11 per cent in the area served by Northern Health.

Fraser Health, the largest region by population from Surrey through the Fraser Valley, had a seven per cent increase in hours in 2014-15, the fiscal year that ended last March. Interior Health, including the Okanagan and Kootenays, saw a five per cent increase.

Mackenzie said there has been an increase in seniors served by home care workers in most regions, but the hours received by each has declined. She said the data on hours reflects what she has heard from seniors around the province, who report that their home care services are being reduced.

“That validates to a large extent what people are saying, which is ‘I can’t get meal prep, they cut my bathing, they cut out my housekeeping’,” Mackenzie said.

Health Minister Terry Lake, who emphasized the need to move away from the acute-care hospital model to community and home care at a recent health ministers’ conference in Vancouver, said the report is “a snapshot,” but acknowledged there is more work to do.

Lake said the 11 million hours of home care support provided last year is up 35 per cent since the B.C. Liberals took office in 2001, and the number of clients served is up 29 per cent.

“Despite the fact that we’ve seen a significant increase in hours and budget, the demographics are such that we are falling behind here a little bit,” Lake said in an interview. “I think this is a good early warning system to tell us, we need to do a bit more in this area.”

Lake added that the new federal government has made a commitment to invest more in home health care. He said he is encouraged by Mackenzie’s finding that 96 per cent of B.C. seniors have a regular family doctor.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union said Mackenzie’s report “paints a picture of a system that is headed in the wrong direction.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay snowpack nearing record levels

High snowpack can mean a greater risk of flooding in spring, say forecasters

Rossland Skating Club invites the community to Year End Show

Rossland Skating Club competed in the East Kootenay Invitational Skating Competition last week

Court loss won’t affect Rossland plastic bag ban: mayor

Mayor says community is compliant, with enforceable law or not

VIDEO: Kootenay Patricks, Montreal Canadiens play to the crowd in Nelson

The charity game was a spectacle from puck drop

Grand Forks emergency shelter to be managed by Boundary Family Services

The organization got Grand Forks city council’s approval on Jan. 15

VIDEO: Mass coronavirus quarantines seen in China won’t happen in Canada, authorities say

‘If a case comes here, and it is probably … it will still be business as normal’

Province’s oldest practising lawyer shares advice at her 100th birthday party

Firefighters bring Constance Isherwood a cake with 100 birthday candles

Vernon woman suing McDonald’s for spilled coffee

Woman seeking nearly $10K, says employee failed to put lid on properly

Diners’ health tax not catching on in B.C., restaurant group says

Small businesses look for options to cover employer health tax

B.C. comic wins judgment after club owner slaps cellphone out of his hands

Incident happened last summer when Garrett Clark was performing in Abbotsford

Mayors call for ‘calmness’ as highway rockslide cuts Tofino, Ucluelet off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

Owner surrenders dog suffering from days-old gunshot wound to B.C. SPCA

The dog was also found to be emaciated and suffering from a flea infestation

B.C. man dies after police called for ‘firearms injury’ in rural Alberta

Victim is 30-year-old Greater Victoria man, say police

Most Read