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

Lightning strikes spark 38 fires in B.C., 13 in the region

13 new fires in the Okanagan have been reported from the BC Wildfire Service Tuesday night.

UPDATE: Several fires burning in Lower Similkameen

At least one fire near Keremeos was caused by lightening

911 jams causes panic among residents

RDOS chair received several calls and texts from panicked residents unable to get through to 911

Update: Lightning sparks blaze above Summerland

Firefighters are battling the small fire from the area that occurred Tuesday shortly after 7 p.m.

Lightning strikes across B.C. Interior

Residents are being asked to go inside until last rumble of thunder

VIDEO: Vernon residents quick to jump on lightning fire

Thanks to the residents’ efforts, crews were able to quickly suppress the fire.

UPDATED: Four small wildfires reported near Revelstoke following Tuesday night storm

Four new wildfires are currently burning near Revelstoke following Tuesday night’s lightning… Continue reading

Several attacked with bear spray at Kalamalka Beach

Police have apprehended a 16-year-old Vernon male.

Hells Angels celebrating 35th anniversary party on Vancouver Island

Additional police resources will be in Nanaimo this weekend as roughly 300 members and hang arounds are expected

New campaign aims to tide food waste at home

About 2.2 million tonnes of edible food is discarded in Canada every year

‘Savour the Okanagan’ fundraiser in Vernon Saturday

All contributions and proceeds will go towards JoeAnna’s House

B.C. couple reunited with dog three years after disappearance

A purebred Pomeranian is back with his parents, likely after years in a puppy mill.

BC Nurses Union calls for decriminalization of opioids

BCNU president wants the federal government to do more to reduce preventable deaths

West Kelowna firefighters perform rescue after lightning strike

Crews rescued two people from an apartment’s elevator on Carrington Road

Most Read