Re: Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows (Black Press Media news report, Jan. 9)
I would like to respond to Tom Fletcher’s article regarding the Office of the Seniors Advocate Monitoring Report. The report covers the 2017/18 fiscal year, ending March 31, 2018, which predates our government’s seniors plan, and the historic investment made in seniors care in Budget 2018.
Our government is investing $1.048 billion over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home health, residential care, assisted living and respite services. The Seniors Advocate Report supports the government’s decision regarding implementing a substantial seniors strategy, and we will be referring to it in measuring the progress our plan.
To address the increase in seniors waiting to attend adult day programs we are providing $75 million over the next three years to expand this. As an example, Island Health has planned for 7,400 more spaces. By increasing these spaces, we will help seniors continue living in their homes longer, delay or avoid moving to residential care, and will better support caregivers and give them the relief they need.
A total of $240 million is being invested to increase direct care hours for seniors to an average of 3.36 hours per patient per day by 2021. More educational spaces for health-care assistants are being created across B.C. to help support this. And, through the Health Sector Statutes Repeal Act, continuity of care for seniors will improve with improved job security and stability for health care staff.
We look forward to working with the Seniors Advocate to monitor and review how these investments in seniors are benefiting them, and to ensure the best of care.
B.C. Minister of Health