British Columbia receives $733 million in federal health funding for seniors care

British Columbia is set to receive $733 million in new federal funding over the next five years to improve health care for seniors in the province.

Federal and provincial health ministers announced Monday that the money will help expand home and community-based care, improve access to palliative and end-of-life services, and improve the quality of long-term care.

Federal Health Minister Mark Holland said this is the country’s first agreement on aging with dignity.

“We have an aging population, but we have to rise up and face this challenge,” he said during a press conference.

Holland said he was working “very closely” with his counterpart in British Columbia, Adrian Dix.

Two white men wearing face masks stand in front of the Canadian flag.
Dix and Holland said the funding will go toward improving long-term care, as well as increasing access to end-of-life care outside of hospitals. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“We see an enhancement of the overall safety and quality of long-term care in this agreement, an improvement to the quality of dementia care, increased access to palliative care at the end of life for people outside of hospitals, personalization of care, and to ensure there is greater oversight,” he said.

Hollande 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 A deal worth $1.2 billion It was announced in October and aims to improve how health information is collected, shared and used. A plan to simplify the recognition of foreign credentials for internationally educated health professionals was also announced.

Dix said at the press conference that the province is working to improve the health care system, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a significant impact on seniors.

He said there has been a significant increase in the number of seniors in the county and that the new agreement reflects the needs of the community.

“You can see it in the changing demographics of our country and our county in particular,” he said.

A white man gestures as he speaks on stage, with two people wearing face masks behind him.
Dix promised the funding would go toward improving home care for seniors, which the province’s seniors advocate says is urgently needed in B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Life expectancy has improved in the county, which is “great,” Dix said, but it means services are also needed to keep up with the need.

The minister said federal funds would be used “to make significant improvements to allow people to live longer at home and to be better prepared to go into long-term care, to improve … dementia care and also to invest in our workforce.”

Dix and Holland officially signed the agreement immediately after the press conference on Monday.

More home care money needed: Seniors advocate

Isobel Mackenzie, open minded An advocate for seniors in British Columbia says she hopes some of the funding will go to seniors struggling to afford home care in the province.

British Columbia is one of the rare provinces that imposes a co-payment on seniors when they receive home care, she says.

“If you’re a senior and you receive the Guaranteed Income Supplement, it’s true that you don’t pay, but that’s a small portion. That’s 30 per cent of our seniors,” she told CBC host Michelle Elliott. BC today. “The cost barrier is real.”

A woman in a green jacket raises her hands up as she points to a stage with a slideshow behind her in the background.
Isobel McKenzie, an advocate for seniors in British Columbia, says the province needs to waive co-payments for home care. (Mike MacArthur/CBC)

The cost barrier could prompt families to send their seniors to long-term care early, McKenzie said.

“For those who receive (home care), the amount they receive compared to what their condition indicates they need is much less,” she said.

“What this shows is that people should go into long-term care, perhaps earlier than they might need to, if they can get that support at home.”

watched A caller to BC Today describes the obstacles to accessing home care:

New Westminster woman describes “exhausting” ordeal of arranging home care for husband

A caller told BC Today host Michelle Elliott that she had a “distressing” experience trying to arrange support for her husband, and that the resulting stress had taken a toll on their lives.

McKenzie says she’s been calling for the province to waive the co-pay for home care for some time, and that the province needs to ensure people feel more supported to care for their loved ones at home instead.

She added, however, that the funding announced Monday recognizes that British Columbians are rapidly aging and “extraordinary financial resources” will still be needed to meet the demand for senior care in the future.

(tags for translation)care

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