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

Slocan Valley to be ‘lit up’ with high-speed internet in 12 months

125 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to be laid from Nakusp to Playmore Junction

Nakusp’s new Caribou Society wants a say in management of animals

Community input is necessary for effective protection, say proponents

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

Two missing in Pend d’Oreille crash

A 15-year-old male and 18-year-old female both from Fruitvale are missing and presumed deceased

Sparks fly as SUV speeds down wrong side of Highway 1 trying to flee RCMP

Captured on video, the vehicle headed westbound against oncoming traffic before crashing

Calgary captain has 3 points as Flames torch Canucks 3-1

Giordano leads way as Alberta side cracks 100-point plateau

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Province announces $18.6 million for B.C. Search and Rescue

The funding, spread over three years, to pay for operations, equipment, and training

Late-season wave of the flu makes its round in B.C.

BC Centre for Disease Control reported 50 per cent jump in flu cases in first weeks of March

Tofino’s housing crisis causing some to seek shelter at the local hospital

Tofino’s housing crisis is pushing the town’s ‘hidden homeless’ population into the forefront.

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

2 fires in Victoria caused by cigarettes prompts warning from deputy fire chief

Two separate fires caused by cigarette butts were avoidable

Most Read