The British Columbia government is increasing staffing levels in residential care homes to make sure seniors are getting the quality care they need and deserve, Premier John Horgan announced on September 25, 2018.
Premier Horgan said by investing $240 million over three years, government will increase the direct care seniors receive to 3.36 hours per-resident day, on average, in each health authority, by 2021. This will mark the first time this average has been reached since the Ministry of Health set that target almost 10 years ago.
In 2016, the average direct care hours was 3.11 per-resident day. With this new investment, that average will increase to 3.24 by 2019, and reach 3.36 by 2021. Progress has been made by with almost 270,000 more care hours now being provided by converting part-time and casual staff to full time. New funding of $48.4 million this year will add more than one million hours of care.
This investment will mean better working conditions and benefits for health-care aides. Currently, more than 50% of aides are working part-time or casual shifts. In 2017-18, 330 health-care aides were converted to full-time positions, with another 500 to follow this year.
By the end of the strategy, the Ministry of Health estimates that approximately 1,500 new full time equivalent positions will be added, including:
- 900 health-care aides;
- 165 registered nurses;
- 300 licensed practical nurses;
- 50 allied health-care professionals (physiotherapists, occupational therapists, social workers); and
- 100 other health-care workers, including rehabilitation assistants, activity aides and other allied health-care workers.
As announced in April 2018, this is part of the strategy to make sure B.C. is equipped with a well-staffed health-care sector, with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training providing approximately $3.3 million to create 384 new health-care aide seats in 11 post-secondary institutions throughout B.C.
In addition, dedicated funding is being provided to support seniors to continue living in their own homes longer and help delay or avoid them having to move to residential care.
As part of Budget 2018, $75 million over three years is being dedicated to expand respite care and adult day programs to better support family and friend caregivers.
Delivering better services and care to seniors is a shared priority between government and the B.C. Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- Residential care homes offer seniors 24-hour professional supervision and care in a safe and secure environment.
- The majority of people moving into residential care are over the age of 75 years, and make up 89% of all residential care clients.
- As of March 31, 2018, B.C. has 27,913 funded residential care beds. Of these, 9,112 are health authority operated, 18,801 are privately operated.
- In 2016-17, there were 754 complaints about residential care, up 6% over the last year. The top complaint category, at 14.3%, was for inappropriate type or level of care.
- In addition, in 2016-17, there were 488 reported incidents of resident to resident aggression in residential care facilities, up from 418 in 2015-16.
- Approximately 50% of health-care aides in B.C. are part-time or casual.
- Through Budget 2018 government is investing $548 million over three years to improve care for seniors, including investments in primary care, home and community care, residential care and assisted living.
- This funding comes on top of the $249 million in federal funding for home and community care, which will assist many seniors, and in addition to $221 million from the Ministry of Health’s base budget allocated for seniors’ care.
- This brings the total commitment over the next three years to approximately $1 billion.
Staffing levels in residential care homes in B.C.
With the additional funding provided to health authorities in 2018-19, over a million hours of care for seniors in residential care homes will be added:
- Fraser Health will add 556,000 hours
- Vancouver Coastal will add 269,000 hours
- Island Health will add 165,000 hours
- Interior Health will add 161,000 hours
- Northern Health will add 35,000 hours
From April to June, 2018, almost 270,000 hours of direct care, of the million, were added for seniors in residential care:
- Fraser Health added 136,500 hours
- Vancouver Coastal Health added 67,800 hours
- Island Health added 37,600 hours
- Interior Health added 21,000 hours
- Northern Health added 6,400 hours
In 2018-19, 183 facilities in B.C. received a portion of the $48.4 million in additional funding:
- Fraser Health received $24 million for 67 facilities
- Vancouver Coastal received $11 million for 31 facilities
- Island Health received $6.4 million for 35 facilities
- Interior Health received $5.4 million for 32 facilities
- Northern Health received $1.6 million for 18 facilities
In 2018-19, health authorities are expected to reach the following average care hours per resident day:
- Fraser Health: 3.22 hours
- Vancouver Coastal: 3.14 hours
- Island Health: 3.23 hours
- Interior Health: 3.31 hours
- Northern Health: 3.53 hours