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.

 

Just Posted

Looking Back: Books and haircuts

What do they have in common?

Bees facing high mortality after long, hard winter

Some Pitt Meadows beekeepers seeing half of their hives die

Pitt Meadows hits record high

Environment Canada put Pitt Meadows at 19 C

Celebrate the best of B.C. film at the ACT in Maple Ridge

The Festival of B.C. Film takes place Mar. 23 and 24

Gas prices spike in Lower Mainland

Two of B.C.’s major fuel suppliers are undergoing maintenance

Defiant vigil starts healing in New Zealand after massacre

Police say the gunman in the shooting that killed 50 acted alone

UPDATE: Tesla driver dies in fiery crash in Coquitlam

Police say speed was factor in single-vehicle collision

B.C. First Nations’ intake of essential nutrients could drop by 31%: study

Professors project the nutrient decrease by 2050 if climate change mitigation continues as is

5 to start your day

Gas prices go up, a deadly single-car crash in Coquitlam, big day for Alphonso Davies, and more

Man enters unlocked B.C. home with knife, sexually assaults 22-year-old

Investigation ongoing after woman sexually assaulted in Greater Victoria early Sunday morning

Trudeau fills vacancy in cabinet with B.C. MP Joyce Murray

Murray, 64, was elected in 2008 and served previously as a minister in B.C.’s provincial government

Gunman kills 3 on Dutch tram; mayor says terror likely

Utrecht police release photo of 37-year-old man born in Turkey who is ‘associated with the incident’

Facebook announces changes to political advertising to meet new federal rules

Bill C-76 bans the use of money from foreign entities to conduct partisan campaigns

Most Read