Home visits by housekeeping and nursing staff keep seniors from moving into residential care. (B.C. Seniors Advocate)

Province taking over seniors’ home care in southern B.C.

Contracted services to be run directly by Fraser, Island, Coastal Health

Visiting health and housekeeping care is vital to letting seniors stay in their own homes, and the provincial health authorities in southern B.C. are moving to in-house staff after a series of audits of contracted agencies conducted in the past year.

B.C. health ministers have long advocated for increased home care to keep seniors out of assisted living and nursing homes. A recent survey by the B.C. Seniors Advocate office found delivery of home care and day activity programs declined in 2018, despite an increase in the general and senior populations.

READ MORE: Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows

READ MORE: Still too many seniors in care, or at home on drugs

Health authorities say integrating home care into their staffing system will help with the B.C. health ministry’s emphasis on team-based community care. They are working on a “seamless transition” that will see unionized staff shift from contractors to direct employment by each health authority.

Home support workers assist with bathing, dressing, grooming and other daily living activities, often providing relief for a primary caregiver, usually a spouse or family member.

The B.C. Care Providers Association, representing contractors, said the move will drive up costs and complicate a staff shortage that has been a chronic problem for senior care homes and home care operators.

“What we’ve heard from seniors is that they want more services and longer visit times, and today’s B.C. government decision does nothing to address this,” said Daniel Fontaine, CEO of the association. “These changes only serve to drive up the cost of the support, and complicate the staffing shortage crisis the sector is facing without addressing the needs of B.C. seniors.”

Service contracts with non-profit and for-profit home care contractors are expiring in 2020, and the health authorities will move to direct employment of the workers for most of the service. In Fraser Health, the largest health region by population, 37 per cent of home care service is provided by in-house staff, and that is expected to move to 90 per cent within a year.

“Living a healthy, independent life at home is important to people in our region who access home support services, which is why we are working with government to improve the way we deliver this care,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, CEO of Fraser Health.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Abandoned boat trailers at Tofino school to be towed

The statement adds that anyone requiring further information can contact the school at 250-725-3254.

Health officer urges Tofino to address alcohol problem

“Alcohol consumption remains a significant issue here.”

No Whale Festival, but still plenty to do in Tofino and Ucluelet this month

“There are many wonderful events happening in the area for March.”

Pacific Football Club takes shape in Tofino

“This is a team for the Island.”

REPLAY: The best videos from across B.C. this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week in the province

National Arts Centre spotlights Indigenous and female artists in upcoming season

Other musical offerings include a salute to Canada’s Indigenous composers

Travel expected to be slowed by fallout from fire at Toronto’s Pearson airport

All U.S.-bound flights from Terminal 1 were cancelled Sunday night after the fire broke out near a security checkpoint

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Leivo nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Stars 3-2

Schaller scores first 2 goals of season for Vancouver

UBC study shows honey bees can help monitor pollution in cities

Scientists analyzed beehives in high density urban areas to those off on Galiano Island

Most Read