Seniors waiting longer for residential care in B.C.: watchdog

Advocate’s annual report says seniors wait an average of six more days to get into a care home

Rising wait times for residential care and a lack of affordable rental housing continue to plague seniors in B.C., the seniors’ watchdog said in her annual report on Tuesday.

In 2014-15, 64 per cent of seniors were admitted to a facility within the target 30 days. In 2015-16, that number decreased to 57 per cent.

On average, seniors in B.C. now wait 46 days to be admitted to a residential care facility, compared to 40 days last year.

Island Health was the worst performing health authority in the province, with the number of seniors who got in within 30 days going down by just over one-third.

Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie linked the high wait times to a lack of home care, which could help seniors stay at home for longer.

“B.C. continues to have a very disproportionately high percentage of people in residential care that don’t meet clinical guidelines to be there,” Mackenzie told reporters. “We want to make sure our beds aren’t being occupied by people who could be supported in the community. But of course if we’re not giving them the home support, they can’t be [at home].”

The lack of care aides reflects the difference between B.C. policy for home support – which Mackenzie calls the best in the country – and the reality on the ground.

“We are not fully realizing the potential of this service to maintain seniors’ independence at home,” she said.

The overall number of home support hours in B.C. declined by 0.1 per cent this year, down from one per cent last year. However, while the drops aren’t large, Mackenzie said they’re concerning as the population of seniors aged 65 and over has grown by 4.3 per cent.

“So even to remain the same level of service, you need to be increasing the number of hours to accommodate the increase in the amount of people who would be eligible for support,” she said.

Mackenzie also found problems for seniors still living at home, in that their provincial rent subsidy isn’t meeting demand.

Since 2005, the maximum rent that qualifies for the subsidy has gone up nine per cent, but rents have increased by 34 per cent.

Office of the Seniors Advocate 2016 Monitoring Seniors’ Services Report

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

Tofino’s Clayoquot Oyster Festival scaled back for 2017

Organizers optimistic about years to come

Pacific Rim Whale Festival in dire need of volunteers around Tofino and Ucluelet

Society’s treasurer Marilyn McEwen fears 2018 could be event’s final year.

Ambassadors educate travellers in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Team tackled off-leash dogs, left-out attractants and shoreline safety.

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Start on time: Canucks looking to shake first-period struggles

Canucks centre Bo Horvat said the formula for getting a leg up is there for everyone to see

COMMUTER ALERT: Snowfall warnings in effect across B.C.

Travelling this weekend? Check the forecasts before hitting the road

Drones take off to search for missing North Okanagan women

A volunteer search party was supported by professional drone operators

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

It’s important to keep your ‘online footprint’ safe

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

Most Read