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

Governor General’s Award-winning author launches her new book

Wendy Phillips’s ‘Baggage’ is told in experimental ‘free verse’ style

Pirates climb to first place in premier league

Mid Island baseball team wins four more to extend win streak to eight games

Nanaimo city councillors to hold e-town hall meeting on strategic priorities

Meeting will take place May 23 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre

Editorial: Homelessness task force has to be more than misdirection

Task force won’t be able to address all the challenging issues that come before Nanaimo council

Nanaimo Heritage Festival helps highlight the long weekend

Parade and family activities took place downtown today, May 19

Nanaimo youth theatre group presenting ‘Hairspray Jr.’

Headliners director and actors agree musical’s message continues to resonate

Nanaimo ferry stops to let bear swim past

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife

Take-home drug testing kits latest pilot to help curb B.C.’s overdose crisis

Researchers look to see if fentanyl testing could be a useful tool for those who use drugs alone

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

Nanaimo author details hotel history along the E&N railway

Along the E&N tells the story of 32 establishments from Esquimalt to Campbell River

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

Wheelchair basketball in Nanaimo accessible to all abilities

Harbour City Slam play day introduced newcomers to the sport

Speed limit lowered at Departure Bay Beach

Speed limit reduced to 40 km/h until the fall

B.C. VIEWS: Reality of our plastic recycling routine exposed

Turns out dear old China wasn’t doing such a great job

Most Read