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

BC Bus North service extended to September

Transportation ministers have extended the service, which was set to expire at the end of May

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

Northwest local governments team up to fill in future employment gaps

Around 17,000 jobs will need to be filled in the region over the next eight years

Poetry month sees launch of “Oona River Poems” at Rupert library

Peter Christensen consciously and lovingly documents our physical and psychological landscapes

Lily Swanson celebrates her 90th birthday in Prince Rupert

The Acropolis Manor resident has 22 grandchildren and is a great grandmother to 25 children

Prince Rupert students share portraits of kindness with children in Peru

The Memory Project gives teens a chance to sharpen their art skills and global awareness

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read