British Columbia’s seniors advocate welcomes the recently announced federal funding for seniors’ health care and says she is particularly excited about the promise of supporting seniors in their homes.
Isobel Mackenzie said she also hopes some of that money will be allocated to cover household support payments for about 70 per cent of British Columbia seniors who don’t qualify for the Guaranteed Income Supplement.
“We charge more for quite a bit,” he said of the province.
“We need to provide more care at home and in the community. We need to get rid of the co-payment for home support and we need to improve the home support provided through our public programs.”
British Columbia and Ottawa on Monday announced $733 million in new federal funding over the next five years to improve health care for the province’s seniors.
Those funds will help expand home and community care, improve access to palliative and end-of-life services and improve the quality of long-term care, federal Health Minister Mark Holland said at a conference on Monday. press.
He said it is the first agreement on aging with dignity in the country.
“We have an aging population, but we have to stand up and meet that challenge,” he said.
Holland said he has been working “very closely” with his BC counterpart, Adrian Dix.
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“We see a strengthening of the safety and quality of long-term care overall in this agreement, and an improvement in the quality of dementia care, greater access to palliative care at the end of life for people outside of hospitals, to personalize care and to make sure there is greater oversight,” he said.
Holland and Dix’s announcement in Vancouver marks the second major bilateral health financing agreement between the two governments in four months.
It builds on a $1.2 billion deal announced in October that aims to improve the way health information is collected, shared and used. A plan to simplify the recognition of foreign credentials for internationally trained health professionals was also announced.
Dix said at the news conference that the province is working to improve the health-care system, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a major impact on seniors.
He said there has been a significant increase in seniors in the province and the new agreement reflects the needs of society.
“You can see it in the demographic changes of our country and our province in particular,” he said.
Dix said life expectancy has improved in the province, which “is a great thing,” but it means services are also needed to meet needs.
The minister said the federal funds will be used “to make significant improvements to enable people to live longer at home and better prepare for long-term care, improve…dementia care and also invest in our workforce.” “.
Mackenzie said he hopes some of the funding will be allocated to increase the number of hours of care for long-term patients to 4.1 hours per day from the current standard of 3.36 hours. She noted the province typically meets or exceeds the current benchmark.
The province should also prioritize converting the remaining multi-bed wards at long-term care sites into single rooms, Mackenzie added.
Dix and Holland officially signed the agreement immediately after Monday’s press conference.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 12, 2024.