B.C. Health Minister Terry Lake has announced $500-million over four years towards the care of the province’s seniors.
The cash comes from previously announced Ministry of Health funding commitments in Budget 2017 and the recently inked federal health accord.
In a written statement, Lake says the investment will “ensure access to quality services across the continuum of care.”
“No matter how complex a person’s needs are, we want to ensure they get the most appropriate care that best enhances their quality of life.”
B.C. seniors’ advocate, Isobel Mackenzie says while the politics of this announcement is not her concern, she will be there to ensure the province follows through on their promise.
“What is important is that the commitment has been made and that it’s going to have quite a significant, positive, impact on some seniors.”
Mackenzie believes the province is sincere because “significant and measurable outcomes” have been rolled out.
“I think this is certainly in my time, the single largest announcement of funds directed specifically to seniors.”
Daniel Fontaine, CEO of the B.C. Care Providers Association says this funding will give families greater confidence in the care their loved ones receive.
“We are elated that the B.C. government is responding to calls from the province’s seniors’ care providers, and will implement a large number of BCCPA’s recommendations to help strengthen seniors care delivery in British Columbia,” read a statement.
Of the $500-million, $275-million comes from a recent health funding agreement with the federal government and is set aside for “home and community-care services.”
Spent across four years the money will go towards hiring about 1,500 additional staff, including health-care assistants, nurses, occupational therapists, and physiotherapists.
The province says it will work with health authorities to “help proactively support the health of seniors with complex medical conditions such as frailty, dementia, multiple chronic illnesses or end-of-life care needs.”
The province says it will implement part three of the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility (Admission) Act by April 2018.
With files from Koy Tayler