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

Historical artifact found in Maple Ridge returned to Katzie First Nation

Katzie chief Grace George is grateful to have stone maul returned

Maple Ridge scout makes nifty tool to aid front-line workers

Quinn Callander, 12, is using a 3D printer to make hundreds of ear guards

Thieves target Maple Ridge grocer

Bandits stealing copper from FreshCo forces store to be shut down for half day amid COVID crisis

Doctors still seeing patients in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge

Appointments over the phone or by videoconference

BC Cowboy Hall of Fame: Allison Everett (White) honoured as Builder of Western Culture

Allison grew up in Maple Ridge riding both English and Western style

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read