Successful campaign re-launched to attract new students to elder care

    SURREY, BC, July 21 /CNW/ - Provincial government ministries, private and
public health organizations and educators from across BC are working to boost
enrolment in post-secondary courses that train residential care aides and home
support workers.
    The ministries of Health Services and Advanced Education and Labour
Market Development, Fraser Health, Vancouver Island Health, 20 public and
private institutions along with the membership of the BC Care Providers
Association have launched a $160,000 marketing and awareness campaign to
attract new students to the continuing care sector.
    "We've expanded training programs for home support and residential care
aides so caring people who want to enter this field will be able to qualify
for stable, meaningful jobs," said Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced
Education and Labour Market Development. "We've also introduced a loan
forgiveness program for students that can offset their education costs by as
much as $2,500."
    "More health care workers trained to provide home support and residential
care will help meet the needs of the province's growing seniors' population,"
said Health Services Minister George Abbott. "The BC CARES campaign supports
our commitment to complete construction for 5,000 net new beds and units for
seniors by the end of 2008."
    Health organizations across Canada are facing similar critical shortages
for residential care and home health workers. In BC, more than 1,500 qualified
graduates are needed immediately to staff new and existing long term care and
assisted living beds as well as home care clients.
    "Government, health authorities and educators are doing the right thing,"
said Christine Nidd, Board President with the BC Care Providers Association,
which is leading the project. "This campaign shows that the private and public
health care sector can work together very well and respond quickly to address
a serious need."
    The need, in fact, shows no sign of diminishing even after the Province
completes construction of the 5,000 new beds. Nidd, who is also the Provincial
Director of Revera Long Term Care, said the BC CARES campaign has proven to
generate effective results, filling all public seats during last year's pilot
with Fraser Health. "Seniors 85 and older are the fastest growing segment of
BC's population. We are preparing for a 'silver tsunami,' which means our
staffing needs will only increase year after year."
    Colleen Hart, Fraser Health's Executive Director of Geriatric and
Residential Support Services, said, "Finding good, qualified people to fill
these positions to support this growing population is one of our biggest
    Barbara Korabek, Vancouver Island Health's Executive Director of Home and
Community Care, agrees. "We need to get the message out there that there has
never been a better time to start your career in health care. Graduates of
these programs study for about one year, sometimes less, will have their pick
of jobs in a number of service environments and can advance relatively quickly
to the nursing profession."
    The BC CARES enrolment strategy launched this week features radio and
newspaper advertising, brochure distribution, promotions at job fairs and
access to a comprehensive website. Further information is available online at
    Training courses for residential care aides and community health workers
are offered at both public and private colleges in BC. Graduates are paid
between about $17 and $21 an hour.

    Participating colleges in the Fraser Health region include:

    Douglas College
    Kwantlen University College
    Stenberg College
    Pacific Coast Community College
    Sprott Shaw Community College
    University College of the Fraser Valley

For further information:

For further information: Michael Bernard, Senior Media Relations
Consultant, Fraser Health, (604) 587-4611, (604) 614-5215 (cell); Kate
Hildebrandt, Director of Public Relations and Member Services, BC Care
Providers Association, (604) 736-4233 ext. 228, (778) 848-4404 (cell)

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