Seniors waiting longer for residential care in B.C.: watchdog

Advocate’s annual report says seniors wait an average of six more days to get into a care home

Rising wait times for residential care and a lack of affordable rental housing continue to plague seniors in B.C., the seniors’ watchdog said in her annual report on Tuesday.

In 2014-15, 64 per cent of seniors were admitted to a facility within the target 30 days. In 2015-16, that number decreased to 57 per cent.

On average, seniors in B.C. now wait 46 days to be admitted to a residential care facility, compared to 40 days last year.

Island Health was the worst performing health authority in the province, with the number of seniors who got in within 30 days going down by just over one-third.

Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie linked the high wait times to a lack of home care, which could help seniors stay at home for longer.

“B.C. continues to have a very disproportionately high percentage of people in residential care that don’t meet clinical guidelines to be there,” Mackenzie told reporters. “We want to make sure our beds aren’t being occupied by people who could be supported in the community. But of course if we’re not giving them the home support, they can’t be [at home].”

The lack of care aides reflects the difference between B.C. policy for home support – which Mackenzie calls the best in the country – and the reality on the ground.

“We are not fully realizing the potential of this service to maintain seniors’ independence at home,” she said.

The overall number of home support hours in B.C. declined by 0.1 per cent this year, down from one per cent last year. However, while the drops aren’t large, Mackenzie said they’re concerning as the population of seniors aged 65 and over has grown by 4.3 per cent.

“So even to remain the same level of service, you need to be increasing the number of hours to accommodate the increase in the amount of people who would be eligible for support,” she said.

Mackenzie also found problems for seniors still living at home, in that their provincial rent subsidy isn’t meeting demand.

Since 2005, the maximum rent that qualifies for the subsidy has gone up nine per cent, but rents have increased by 34 per cent.

Office of the Seniors Advocate 2016 Monitoring Seniors’ Services Report

 

@katslepian

katya.slepian@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Just Posted

B.C. chiefs show solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Chiefs from around B.C. outside the Coastal GasLink pipeline route in Smithers show support.

Woman killed in head-on crash near Vanderhoof

RCMP say driver crossed the centre line and hit a loaded fuel tanker truck

RCMP to review actions at Wet’suwet’en pipeline protest camps

Senior Mountie says he hopes protests will be peaceful following deal with hereditary chiefs

‘Tripod’ delays access to Unist’ot’en camp

Social media rumours of cultural significance quashed, meaning police “exclusion zones” should end.

Hereditary chiefs negotiate injunction agreement

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs abide by interim injunction, but gate stays up. Still opposed.

B.C. opioid crisis to get same world-renowned treatment approach as HIV/AIDS

A program that focuses on treatment as prevention will roll out Jan. 17

Former welfare clients still owed money, B.C. Ombudsperson says

Investigation found 2,600 people docked illegally for earning income

Prince George could get province’s second BC Cannabis Store

The first brick-and-mortar government retail location opened in Kamloops on Oct. 17

B.C. chowdery caught up in ‘rat-in-soup’ scandal to close

Crab Park Chowdery will be shutting down Jan. 20

Teen vaping is an epidemic: US government

E-cigarettes are now the top high-risk substance used by teenagers, outpacing cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana

Vancouver councillors unanimously approve motion declaring climate emergency

Vancouver joins cities like Los Angeles and London

Caribou herd disappears from Kootenays after last cow relocated

One cow from the South Selkirk herd and two from the Purcells were moved this week

‘I never said there was no collusion,’ Trump lawyer says

President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani says he has ‘never said there was no collusion’

Body of Canadian miner found after African kidnapping

Kirk Woodman’s body was discovered 100 kilometres from the site where he worked for Progress Mineral Mining Company in Burkina Faso

Most Read