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Posted: April 5, 2020

Enhancing infection prevention, control in seniors’ homes

As part of British Columbia’s emergency novel coronavirus (COVID-19) response plan, the province is partnering with the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) to launch EquipCare BC to help seniors in long-term care and assisted living homes.

EquipCare BC is a new program that will provide $10 million to enhance infection prevention and control, and improve quality and safety in long-term care and assisted living homes throughout the province.

“Seniors and residents of long-term care and assisted living homes are the most vulnerable due to complications associated with COVID-19,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “Our goal is to ensure that both residents and health-care workers are protected to the maximum extent possible.”

More than 240 long-term care homes and more than 200 assisted living homes in B.C. will be eligible for funding to support increased infection prevention and control measures in their homes. Funds may be used to buy items, including outbreak carts and mobile hand-hygiene sinks, touchless towel and soap dispensers, and safe handling equipment for waste and laundry.

“We are committed to protecting our seniors and elders during this critical time of COVID-19,” said Ronna-Rae Leonard, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors. “This program will further equip long-term care and assisted living residences with the tools to enhance safety measures for seniors and caregivers in these residences.”

BCCPA began administering the program and accepting applications from facilities on Saturday, April 4. The program will initially focus on supporting infection prevention and control through to the end of summer to address immediate needs related to COVID-19. Following this, the focus of the program will shift to funding for safety and quality improvements in publicly funded facilities.

“With this new funding, we can move swiftly to get these important protections against the spread of COVID-19 in our care homes and assisted living residences,” said Daniel Fontaine, CEO, BCCPA. “Operators can expect to receive funding within weeks of a completed application. Not only will EquipCare BC be an efficiently run program, but it will continue to improve workplace safety and quality of life for seniors in care.”

Oversight for EquipCare BC will be provided by a group of industry stakeholders and government, including representatives from BCCPA, SafeCare BC, Denominational Health Association and the Ministry of Health. An additional appointment to the oversight committee will include a provincial representative with expertise in infection prevention control.

Further information about EquipCare BC will be posted here: www.bccare.ca

The launch of EquipCare BC supports additional actions in place to protect seniors from the risks of COVID-19. In addition, the province is providing the United Way of the Lower Mainland with $50 million to increase seniors’ supports at community service agencies throughout British Columbia.

In 2019, 20% of B.C.’s population was 65 or over; in 15 years, this is expected to rise to 25%.

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