B.C. Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix. (B.C. government)

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Health Minister Adrian Dix. (B.C. government)

B.C. making progress on senior care staffing, Adrian Dix says

Minister aims to meet residential care provincial standard by 2021

More than 800 part-time care aides are moving to full-time by the end of this year, bringing B.C. senior homes closer to the standard of care set by the province a decade ago, Health Minister Adrian Dix says.

Dix and Premier John Horgan visited a facility in New Westminster Tuesday to highlight the progress made in one of B.C.’s most intractable health care problems, hiring and retaining enough staff to provide 3.36 hours per day of direct care for frail elderly people in residential care.

Funded with an additional $240 million over three years in the February budget, the target is to add 1,500 full time-equivalent positions, including 900 care aides, 165 registered nurses, 300 licensed practical nurses, and 150 other staf including physiotherapists, social workers, rehabilitation assistants and activity aides.

RELATED: Still too many B.C. seniors in residential care, on drugs

RELATED: Home care boosted with more respite, senior day programs

A total of 183 facilities in B.C. received a portion of the $48.4 million allocated in the current fiscal year to increase residential care:

• Fraser Health received $24 million for 67 facilities

• Vancouver Coastal received $11 million for 31 facilities

• Island Health received $6.4 million for 35 facilities

• Interior Health received $5.4 million for 32 facilities

• Northern Health received $1.6 million for 18 facilities

Horgan and Dix credited B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie’s research in highlighting the need for more care hours. In her most recent report last week, Mackenzie surveyed home-based and residential care and identified a high number of residential care patients reporting daily pain compared to the national average.

Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information shows B.C. seniors who have the physical and mental ability to manage at home or assisted living are in residential care, partly due to insufficient home support, Mackenzie concluded.


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