SENIORS in Delta, Langley and Surrey are benefiting from more than $12.8 million in 2018-19 funding to increase staffing levels and ensure that seniors get the care they need in residential care homes, the Province announced on Tuesday.
This initial investment starts year one of a three-year plan to increase the direct care seniors receive in residential care homes in these communities and around the province – to reach the target 3.36 care hours per-resident day, on average across health authorities, by 2021.
“This standard of care for long-term care residents was set over a decade ago and was not being achieved. Under the plan that Premier John Horgan announced earlier this year, we are taking clear action towards meeting the target of 3.36 care hours per-resident day,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix.
“Our government is delivering on our commitment to improve seniors’ care and have increased staffing for seniors’ care in the Lower Mainland, with approximately 288,000 more direct care hours to be provided in these three communities this fiscal year alone. It is clear action is being taken to meet this target.”
The more than $12.8-million investment in care hours for Delta, Langley and Surrey is part of the $48.4 million being allocated to health authorities in 2018-19 to fund over one million more hours of direct care throughout the province. This increased funding for residential care is the first allocation in the three-year investment of $240 million to increase direct care seniors receive to 3.36 hours per-resident-day average by health authority, announced in September 2018. In 2016, the average direct care hours in British Columbia were 3.11 per resident-day.
In the 23 homes that have received funding in communities, approximately 125,000 additional direct care hours were provided by the end of September 2018.
“People living in residential care and their families expect to receive the best day-to-day assistance possible. By making this investment, we are working to raise the quality of life seniors have in their residential care homes,” Dix said.
Increasing the staff hours in residential care homes in these three communities is just one of several health-care improvements underway in the region. These include:
* Dramatically increasing the volume of MRIs in Fraser Health. Over 8,500 more scans are being performed this fiscal year, increasing scans to 63,000. The two MRI clinics purchased by the government will add 10,000 scans to the region next fiscal.
* Giving Surrey residents improved same-day access to urgent primary care with the opening of the new Surrey Urgent Primary Care Centre. Annual staffing and operating costs are projected at approximately $3.8 million. One-time capital costs are estimated at $3.1 million.
* Concept planning for a new Surrey Hospital.
* Opened an additional 24 publicly funded residential care beds in Surrey with an average of 3.36 direct-care hours per resident day.
* Expanded the day programs for older adults across Fraser Health with 369 new spaces weekly, including new weekend spots, to provide caregivers with increased support and flexibility when their loved one receives care.
Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors, said: “Thousands of British Columbians live in residential care facilities and government is dedicated to making sure both residents and the staff looking after them have the supports they need. This investment means more direct care at the bedside, assistance and overall better lives for the people staying in these homes.
Isobel Mackenzie, Seniors Advocate, said: “Residents and family members by the thousands have told us more staff are needed in our care homes and I am extremely pleased to see the funding for increased care hours has arrived.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, President and CEO, Fraser Health, added: “Seniors are the foundation of our communities and they deserve to receive high quality care when they transition to living in a residential care facility. This investment allows staff working in facilities throughout our region to better meet the needs of residents and their families as they enter this next phase of their lives. We thank the provincial government for their commitment to supporting seniors across the province and specifically in Fraser Health, as well as the people who deliver services to them.”
* Residential care homes offer seniors 24-hour professional supervision and care in a safe and secure environment.
* In April 2018, the ministries of Health and Advanced Education, Skills and Training announced approximately $3.3 million to create new health-care assistant seats in 11 post-secondary institutions throughout British Columbia to increase staffing levels in residential care homes and community care sectors.
* Health-care assistants are frontline care providers who work in a variety of institutional and community settings including home support agencies and residential care homes.
* Approximately 50% of health-care assistants in B.C. are part-time or casual.
* Through the $240-million investment over three years, the average direct care hours in B.C. will increase from 3.11 per-resident day in 2016 to 3.24 by 2019, reaching 3.36 by 2021.
* Progress has been made with almost 270,000 more care hours now being provided by converting part-time and casual staff to full time.
* New funding of $48.4 million in 2018 will add more than one million hours of direct care.