HEALTH CARE – Lake announces plan for more seniors’ care staff

(BC Care Providers Association, Facebook)

The provincial government will spend $500 million over the next four years as part of a Ministry of Health action plan to improve care for seniors across the system, including increasing direct-care hours for seniors in residential care.

“Seniors are an important part of the fabric that makes up our communities, and often some of the most vulnerable,” said Health Minister Terry Lake in a media release Thursday (March 9, 2017).

“This investment helps ensure access to quality services across the continuum of care, from supports in their homes to residential care.”

Over the next four years, year-over-year funding increases from the Ministry of Health will enable each health authority to reach a consistent average of 3.36 direct-care hours per resident day across both publicly administered and contracted residential-care facilities, he said.

The move is included in recommendations from a recent review of residential-care services by Parliamentary Secretary Darryl Plecas, and has been recommended by Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie.

Mackenzie called it “a thoughtful and comprehensive plan.”

The Hospital Employees Union said the announcement is a “significant step towards addressing the growing staffing crisis in residential care.

“Our members are struggling to meet the needs of residents when nine out of 10 care homes are not funded to meet the government’s own staffing guidelines,” said Jennifer Whiteside, secretary-business manager of the 46,000-member Hospital Employees’ Union.

To help meet the increase in hours and to further improve the quality of care, the Liberals will hire about 1,500 more staff. As well, specialized community service programs operated by health authorities will be introduced in communities to  support seniors with complex medical conditions.

Ten Million dollars will be provided to the BC Care Providers Association which, along with the Denominational Health Association, will use it to help publicly funded care homes purchase new equipment such as wheelchairs and patient lifts.

Included in the $500 million is $275 million to be provided over the next four years for home- and community-care services as part of the recent health funding agreement with the federal government.

Over and above the $500 million, health authorities also will continue increasing their budgets for home and community care over the next four years, reaching approximately $200 million above current levels by 2020-21.

These investments are made possible through a budget increase to the Ministry of Health under Budget 2017, which provides a total of $4.2 billion in additional funding for the ministry over the next three years.

About Mel Rothenburger (5865 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on HEALTH CARE – Lake announces plan for more seniors’ care staff

  1. I agree with you Brock. The Liberals have a long history of pretending to throw money at an issue, but it somehow, never gets spent. Funny how that works, eh.

  2. Wow. I guess the political ‘donations’ scandal is getting hot. Half a billion dollars shows up a scant few weeks before the election? How can anyone NOT be cynical? How can anyone who’s had an elderly relative wither away in a sad excuse for a senior’s care home NOT be annoyed by this?

    $500 million. Half a BILLION dollars. Where was that hiding? Did someone pull out the cushions from the caucus couch and find that spare pocket change there for the taking?

    Sorry, but I’m not that stupid. If elected, we’ll find out what’s getting cut tomorrow to make this promise today.

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