COLUMNS: Strengthening care for seniors

Our government is investing $500 million over the next four years as part of an action plan to improve care for seniors.

Our government is investing $500 million over the next four years as part of an action plan to improve care for seniors across the province, 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. This investment helps ensure access to quality services across the continuum of care, from supports in their homes to residential care. No matter how complex a person’s needs are, we want to ensure they get the most appropriate care that best enhances their quality of life.

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

To help meet the increase in hours and to further improve the quality of care, our government will work with the health authorities and industry to hire about 1,500 additional staff. In addition, specialized community service programs operated by health authorities will be introduced in communities throughout the province to help proactively support the health of seniors with complex medical conditions such as frailty, dementia, multiple chronic illnesses or end-of-life care needs.

Our plan to invest in home and community care was recently lauded by the B.C. Care Providers Association (BCCPA). Their CEO Daniel Fontaine said that “by making these significant investments in home and community care, B.C. seniors and their families can have greater confidence that the right care will be there, at the right time, and in the right place.’

We are responding to calls from the province’s seniors’ care providers, and we are implementing a large number of the Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie’s recommendations to help strengthen seniors care delivery.

I am confident that in moving forward with this fully funded action plan for seniors, we will help our province to meet current and future needs for seniors care services, including residential care, and improve the lives of seniors living in our province.

Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.