B.C. to invest $500 million over four years to improve care for seniors

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VICTORIA, B.C. – The Province will be investing $500 million over a total of four years to improve care for seniors in B.C.

“Seniors are an important part of the fabric that makes up our communities, and often some of the most vulnerable,” said Health Minister Terry Lake. “This investment helps ensure access to quality services across the continuum of care, from supports in their homes to residential care. No matter how complex a person’s needs are, we want to ensure they get the most appropriate care that best enhances their quality of life.”

The Province says year-over-year funding increases from the Ministry of Health will help each health authority to reach a consistent average of 3.36 direct-care hours per resident day across both publicly administered and contracted residential-care facilities

A review had been completed by Parliamentary Secretary Darryl Plecas, and was been recommended by Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

“We learned a great deal through the review of residential-care services in B.C., and identified where more work needs to be done to improve care for seniors,” said Plecas. “I am confident that in moving forward with this fully funded action plan for seniors, we will help our province to meet current and future needs for seniors care services, including residential care, and improve the lives of seniors living in our province.”

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B.C. will also be helping to meet the increase of hours. They will work with the health authorities and industry to hire close to 1,500 additional staff, an estimate based on a 2009 provincial staffing framework, including health-care assistants, nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists.

They will also be giving money to associations throughout B.C.

“$10 million to the BC Care Providers Association which, along with the Denominational Health Association will use the funding to assist publicly funded care homes purchase new equipment that improves the quality of life and safety of residents”

The Ministry of Health says that they will also be bringing in another part of the Health Care Act that will benefit seniors.

“The government will also bring to force by April 2018 part three of the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act, as recommended by B.C.’s ombudsperson. This legislation will require health authority staff and care facility operators to get consent for admission to a facility, including extending protections for adults who may not have the capacity to make such decisions. Under part three, if a person is assessed as incapable of consent, then a personal guardian or substitute decision-maker (usually a family member or close personal friend) would have to give consent on the person’s behalf. If no one is available or qualifies, then the public guardian and trustee may appoint someone, including one of their staff. Substitute decision-makers must act in the person’s best interests – consulting with the person and their family, and considering previously expressed wishes – to determine whether admission to the residential-care facility would be beneficial.”

The government says these investments were made possible by the increase to the Ministry of Health budget from Budget 2017.

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