Home care spread thin, seniors’ advocate says

Growing number of seniors outpacing home care services, Health Minister Terry Lake acknowledges

B.C. Seniors' Advocate Isobel Mackenzie

B.C. Seniors' Advocate Isobel Mackenzie

Health ministers across Canada say expanding community and home care is the best way to serve a growing senior population, but total home care hours declined last year in three out of five B.C. health regions.

That’s one of the findings in the first annual report on seniors’ services by B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Despite growing senior populations across B.C., the report found the total hours of home support delivered to clients was down four per cent in Vancouver Island and Vancouver Coastal health regions, and down 11 per cent in the area served by Northern Health.

Fraser Health, the largest region by population from Surrey through the Fraser Valley, had a seven per cent increase in hours in 2014-15, the fiscal year that ended last March. Interior Health, including the Okanagan and Kootenays, saw a five per cent increase.

Mackenzie said there has been an increase in seniors served by home care workers in most regions, but the hours received by each has declined. She said the data on hours reflects what she has heard from seniors around the province, who report that their home care services are being reduced.

“That validates to a large extent what people are saying, which is ‘I can’t get meal prep, they cut my bathing, they cut out my housekeeping’,” Mackenzie said.

Health Minister Terry Lake, who emphasized the need to move away from the acute-care hospital model to community and home care at a recent health ministers’ conference in Vancouver, said the report is “a snapshot,” but acknowledged there is more work to do.

Lake said the 11 million hours of home care support provided last year is up 35 per cent since the B.C. Liberals took office in 2001, and the number of clients served is up 29 per cent.

“Despite the fact that we’ve seen a significant increase in hours and budget, the demographics are such that we are falling behind here a little bit,” Lake said in an interview. “I think this is a good early warning system to tell us, we need to do a bit more in this area.”

Lake added that the new federal government has made a commitment to invest more in home health care. He said he is encouraged by Mackenzie’s finding that 96 per cent of B.C. seniors have a regular family doctor.

The B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union said Mackenzie’s report “paints a picture of a system that is headed in the wrong direction.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were 164 more overdose calls in Greater Victoria in 2020 than in 2019. (Black Press Media file photo)
Greater Victoria sees increase in overdose calls in 2020

Official says most deaths are in the suburbs, in garages and bedrooms

Grad student Marisa Harrington and her supervisor Lynneth Stuart-Hill say preliminary results from a study into the affects of stress on hospital nurses show an impact on sleep and heart variability. (Courtesy of Marisa Harrington)
University of Victoria study shows stress impact on Greater Victoria nurses

Stress may be impacting sleep, heart health of local hospital nurses

Lisa Love, left, and Dana Livingstone of the Wildlife Advocates Collective want to establish wildlife corridors along Sooke Road. The group wants to start with the new highway reconstruction project between Connie Road and Glinz Lake Road in Sooke. (Kevin Laird - Sooke News Mirror)
How creating wildlife crossings can help deer, bears – and even amphibians

Dana Livingstone knows the dangers wild animals can pose to drivers on… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, updates British Columbians about COVID-19 at a press conference earlier this week. (B.C. Government image)
B.C.’s 1st case of COVID-19 confirmed a year ago today

Here’s a look at some of the key dates in the province’s fight against the novel coronavirus

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 26

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(B.C. government photo)
POLL: Would you like to see restrictions on travel to B.C. from other provinces?

With a host of more virulent strains of COVID-19 appearing across the… Continue reading

Flowers poke through the snow in Courtenay as the area got a taste of winter weather this week. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Vancouver Island not out of the winter woods quite yet: meteorologist

“It’s winter; we’ve got to get through it together.”

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.

Most Read