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Posted: March 1, 2019

Funds to boost staffing for local care homes

Residential care homes in Cranbrook, Creston, Fernie and Invermere are among 31 in the Interior Health area to receive provincial government funds to increase staffing levels and make sure that seniors get the care they need from a nearly $5.3-million investment in 2018-19.

This initial investment starts year one of a three-year plan to increase the direct care that seniors receive in residential care homes in the Interior and throughout the province – to reach the target 3.36 care hours per resident-day, on average across health authorities, by 2021.

Local homes to get funds include: Cranbrook’s Joseph Creek Village ($191,000); Creston’s Crest View Village ($68,000); Fernie’s Rocky Mountain Village ($105,000); and Invermere’s Columbia Garden Village ($55,000).

“Under the plan that Premier John Horgan announced in 2018, our government is taking clear action to meet the target of 3.36 care hours per resident-day, on average, by health authority,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “The target of 3.36 had been set in 2008. In 2017, less than three in 20 care homes met the standard, including virtually all the publicly funded beds in private and non-profit care homes. For seniors, this meant below-standard care, fewer baths and a lower quality of life than our parents and grandparents deserve.

“Our government is committed to delivering on our promise to improve seniors’ care and have increased staffing for seniors’ care in the Interior, with approximately 156,000 more direct-care hours to be provided in Interior Health this fiscal year alone. This increase in care hours means seniors will receive more help with dressing, bathing, eating or taking part in social activities.”

The nearly $5.3-million investment in care hours for the Interior is part of $48.4 million being allocated to health authorities in 2018-19 to fund over one million more hours of direct care throughout the province.

The increased funding for residential care is the first allocation in the three-year investment of $240 million to increase the direct care that seniors receive to an average of 3.36 hours per resident-day by health authority, as announced in September 2018. In 2016, the average direct care hours in British Columbia were 3.11 per resident-day, a Ministry of Health press release outlined.

Across the 31 residential care homes that received funding in the Interior, approximately 77,000 additional direct care hours have been provided by the end of September 2018.

“People living in residential care expect to receive the best day-to-day support possible, and this investment is vital to delivering on the Province’s promise to improve supports for patients outside of hospital,” said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors. “This funding will help improve the lives of people living in residential care, while supporting the hardworking staff in these facilities.”

“Staff at residential care homes work incredibly hard and care a great deal for the seniors they see every day. These investments are more than just numbers – they’re supporting people,” added Kang.

Increasing the staff hours in residential care homes in the Interior is just one of several health-care improvements underway in the region.

“Interior Health is committed to providing a range of quality health services for seniors, including long-term care. Through this investment, we will see additional staffing and care hours to further support the needs of this medically complex and vulnerable population,” said Doug Cochrane, Interior Health board chair.

Lead image: Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook. e-KNOW file photos


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