Ombudsperson's findings reveal systemic challenges in seniors' care
VANCOUVER, Feb. 15, 2012 /CNW/ - BC Ombudsperson Kim Carter's second
report on seniors' care, released yesterday in the Legislature,
delivered a strong critique of the government's record on seniors' care
and contained recommendations to address the barriers that seniors face
in accessing adequate residential care, home support, assisted living,
and community care.
"The BC Ombudsperson's report acknowledges a decade of real challenges
for seniors and their families," says president of the B.C. Government
and Service Employees' Union (BCGEU), Darryl Walker.
"Many of the challenges result from the lack of integration and
coordination of services across all levels of government, as well as a
decade of privatization and cuts to health services. The Ombudsperson's
report validates the experience of seniors, their families, and their
Walker says that Ombudsperson Carter and her team have done an
outstanding job looking into the underlying reasons why seniors fail to
receive appropriate care.
"There has never been an investigation of this magnitude in this
province. Her recommendations are concrete and we urge the government
and health authorities to take action to make significant changes to
the way seniors receive care in BC."
The report, "The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors Part 2",
follows three years of investigation into complaints coming from
seniors and their families about the range of public care services
offered in BC's health care system. The Ombudsperson's first report,
released in 2009, contained ten recommendations to improve care for
seniors in residential care facilities.
Yesterday's report contains 176 recommendations related to addressing
systemic challenges that are a barrier to seniors' having full access
to residential care, home support, assisted living, and community
"The government must act on the recommendations related to public home
support," says Carla Dempsey, chair of BCGEU's community health
component representing 8500 community health workers, including
thousands who work in public home support.
"It is reassuring to have the Ombudsperson's investigation confirm what
we have been saying for years: that current limitations in community
health mean many seniors are not getting the support that they need to
live well in their homes. We are expected to give more complex care in
less time than we did a decade ago. And because of the way the service
is designed, many community health workers can't get fixed hours of
work, putting real strain on care workers and creating a recruitment
and retention problem in this sector," says Dempsey.
"We welcome the recognition that providing home support usually costs
much less than providing care in an assisted living or residential care
setting. Expanding the home support program makes fiscal sense -
government should do the analysis recommended by the Ombudsperson and
invest in providing full and adequate health care in seniors' homes."
President Walker acknowledged the Minister of Health's announcements of
a "Seniors Action Plan", including establishing an Office of the
Seniors' Advocate, as well as an expansion of a partnership with the
United Way of the Lower Mainland to provide non-medical home support
services to seniors in communities across BC.
"It's important that the perspectives of front-line workers in the
sector be taken into account in the development of the Seniors Action
Plan," says Walker.
"BCGEU is committed to working with government and other agencies to
ensure that our seniors and their families get the support and care
BCGEU is BC's third largest health care union, representing over 16,000
members in all sectors of health care in B.C., including community
care, home support, long-term care, public health, medical technology,
and mental health and addictions services.
SOURCE B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union
For further information:
Erin Sikora at 778-238-0300