Seniors advocate finds holes in home support

Health minister says B.C. spending more on home support, but advocate says adult day program spaces, respite beds declining

B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie

A third of people caring for a frail senior at home are in distress, and yet some provincial supports such as adult day programs remain under-used, according to a new report from B.C.’s Seniors Advocate.

A survey of health assessments for 30,000 B.C. seniors found that the majority of those who report fatigue and other stresses from caring for a relative or friend aren’t using provincial programs.

B.C. offers three kinds of respite services, adult day programs, respite beds in care facilities that offer care for up to 30 days at a time, and home support visits from care aides.

Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said availability of programs is better in urban areas than rural ones, but in general B.C. offers less respite care than Alberta and has more unpaid caregivers reporting distress.

Mackenzie says increasing availability for adult day programs could reduce emergency visits from complex home care patients by a third, and hospital admissions by half, detecting medication or other health problems before they produce a hospital visit.

One puzzling result from the survey is that while there are waiting lists for adult day programs in B.C., one out of four spaces is empty each day. Mackenzie said there may be logistical problems with home care patients, such as a need to attend medical appointments at the same time as the day program is offered.

Mackenzie isn’t suggesting government-paid substitutes can replace volunteer caregivers, most of whom are spouses or other relatives, but says they should have more opportunities to take a break.

“Caregivers do it all,” she said. “Sometimes it is is simple as driving mum to the doctor’s office. Other times it is as complicated as insulin injections or changing catheter bags.

“Sometimes it is dropping in on mum and dad at the end of the work day and other times it is living with your wife of 65-plus years as she surrenders to the ravages of dementia, does not know who you are, cannot be left alone and must be fed and toileted.”

Health Minister Terry Lake said the province has increased investments in home health services over the past 10 years, and is working with health authorities to shift from hospital to home-care as the population ages.

Mackenzie said the number of adult day program clients and days utilized has declined in the last three years, and the number of respite beds at care facilities also appears to be down.

The survey found that only half of the clients registered for home support reported receiving a home visit in the previous seven days.

The report and other services are available at the Seniors Advocate website.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Deaths on popular Shuswap trail ruled accidental

B.C. Coroners Service reports on fatal falls in May and July 2019

Update: Highway 1 between Salmon Arm and Sicamous partially reopens

Westbound traffic delayed as crews recover a vehicle

Potholes plentiful in Salmon Arm’s industrial park

City says patching effort underway, residents can report potholes on city’s website

Shuswap housing too expensive? Neighbourhood crime a concern? Input wanted

Survey asks CSRD residents to weigh in on the affordability and availability of housing in the area.

The price of poverty: Schools, community notice more people in Salmon Arm struggling

Although number of children in poverty in city has decreased slightly, still more than 600

UPDATE: Protesters say they will maintain blockade near Chase “as long as it takes”

Goal is to see RCMP removed from Wet’suwet’en territory

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

‘Chain reaction pile up’ closes southbound traffic on Coquihalla Highway

Black Press Media has reached out to RCMP, paramedics for details

Federal minister to speak in North Okanagan

Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes middle class prosperity minister to talk money

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

EDITORIAL: Thoughtless posts to Facebook cause real harm and stress

At the risk of resembling a broken record, it needs to be… Continue reading

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

Most Read