Seniors in residential care are being over-medicated and many shouldn’t be there at all.
So says BC’s Seniors Advocate in a devastating new report.
Isobel Mackenzie says up to 15 per-cent of BC seniors in residential care may be incorrectly housed-with assisted living or community care being more appropriate options.
She says proper placement could free up 15-hundred residential care beds.
Mackenzie is also worried about over-medication of seniors in care, noting 33 per-cent are receiving anti-psychotic drugs even though only four per-cent actually have a psychiatric disorder.
“We are continuing to advance in our knowledge of how to work with seniors, particularly those with dementia, to manage agitation, which is one of the big things we prescribe anti-psychotics for. It’s not what they were intended for. And we clearly need to keep doing more work around that.”
Mackenzie is also disappointed that seniors in care in BC are not receiving physiotherapy or recreational therapy at the same level as seniors in Alberta and Ontario.
Mackenzie says solutions must come not just from the BC government but also doctors and the private care home industry.
Health minister Terry Lake says he’s concerned about the issues raised by BC’s Seniors Advocate around care in residential facilities.
Lake says he wants to meet with Isobel Mackenzie to discuss her report, which flags over-prescription of medication to seniors and a lack of physiotherapy and recreation for seniors in care.
“Physical therapy, occupational therapy, making sure people are continuing to move is critically important for older people to prevent them from becoming frail, otherwise they will fall, end up in the emergency department, sometimes not come home from the hospital.”
Lake says government is already consulting with stakeholders about improving what he says is a good system of seniors care.