Private care companies flourish

Qualicum’s Nurse Next Door one of many businesses providing fee-based services.

Peter Coulter when he launched the local Nurse Next Door franchise in August 2010.

Peter Coulter when he launched the local Nurse Next Door franchise in August 2010.

Local home care providers are gearing up for the coming Alzheimer’s tsunami.

Peter Coulter came out of retirement a couple years ago to start the north Island Nurse Next Door franchise for example.

“There are more and more affluent seniors in this area and their number one wish is to stay in their homes for palliative care,” he said.

While the population is aging across the country, District 69 is on the forefront, with Qualicum Beach leading the country with 47.2 per cent of the population 65 or older, compared to the national average of 14 per cent. Parksville is the second oldest at 37.1 per cent.

The Vancouver based company started 10 years ago and now has more than 50 locations across the country and into the U.S.

Coulter himself has 65 employees from Qualicum Beach to Port Alberni and Campbell River who do everything from escorting people on a weekly walk, or helping arrange other services, to short term respite to give family caregivers a break, right up to full registered nurses and palliative care.

“This is essentially a service to allow seniors to stay in their own homes, which is what everyone wants,” he said, adding that caregiver burnout is a major issue.

Coulter can regale you with stories of employees going above and beyond, sitting in their car all night to keep a generator running to keep a clients air bed inflated, and said they see the positive impact of their efforts, with client’s health improving and people living longer than expected.

They work with other health care providers and organizations like Lifeline, ICBC and Veterans Affairs, but Coulter points out there is essentially no funding for their services, despite the fact that they help reduce health care costs and take some pressure off the public system.

VIHA representative Anya Nimmon pointed out that they offer many of the same services and “Nurse Next Door is also contracted by VIHA as a secondary overcapacity provider to assist VIHA to provide home support services to referred clients when we cannot do so.”

Nurse Next Door offers a free risk assessment of your house with an 85 point checklist, looking for hazards and giving safety tips.

For more check www.nursenextdoor.com or call 250-752-2597 in Qualicum Beach or 250-667-0190 in Parksville.

For details on local government health services check www.viha.ca/hcc/services, for home care call the Parksville office at 250-739-5749.

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Other private home care services in the area include Sue’s Seniors Care at www.suesseniorcare.com, 250-951-2077, MoJo Home Care Services and Bathing Program at 250-927-3670, Kings Care in Parksville at 250-248-2248 and Ramona’s Home Care Services in Coombs at 250-927-3670.