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.

BC legislature

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

VicPD to reopen front counter services on Monday

No masks provided, but encouraged to be worn

Oak Bay pandemic project gets 300 submissions

Gage Gallery exhibit shows how people cope during crisis

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read