B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake attends a flu vaccine clinic in 2015.

LETTER: Time to give credit to health minister

I have publicly criticized the health ministry on numerous occasions over the last three years concerning senior care in B.C. And I have encouraged everyone to raise their voices against senior neglect to a ministry that appeared to have little concern for their welfare. As eager as I was to condemn, I will now, with great pleasure, give credit to Terry Lake for acknowledging our concerns in several ways. His first step was the appointment of a senior advocate with no restrictions on publicly reporting the ugly truth.

And now that the key factors responsible for the inadequate level of care have been identified by her excellent research, Mr. Lake has committed the ministry to an action plan that addresses the issues with the government budget increase for senior care.

In my opinion, lack of staff, training and accountability for health authority and facility performance were the key issues. The action plan will be making changes to improve of all of them such as: health authorities will be required to increase hours per resident day through an agreement with the ministry that will be monitored with annual reports; changes to improve existing residential care service models; develop training and skill set requirements to provide better care of seniors with dementia issues; changes in monitoring plans.

Increased oversight of health authority performance will bring about an obligation to enforce facility compliance with improved policies. The health authorities will be held more accountable than ever before to ensure that senior facilities provide quality care. And the plan makes a commitment for many of these improvements within the next year, which will be monitored for implementation by the senior advocates office.

In all fairness, I will now thank Mr. Lake for his efforts on behalf of our seniors.

Judy Galley

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