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More concerns about B.C. government’s plan to move private seniors care into health authorities

Senior care advocates are once again raising concerns over the B.C. government’s recent announcement to move privately-run home support services back into health authorities.

The B.C. Seniors’ Living Association is worried ‘freedom of choice’ is going to be compromised under the new system.

READ MORE: B.C. health minister defends decision to roll privately-run home support services into health authorities

Association interim CEO Alison Howard, however, says private contractors areflexible with seniors who request certain services with specific care aides.

Howard says choice is important for many people, as well as “to feel the trust and dignity that [the] same person can provide to them once they know how they like their bath or where their meds are kept.”

She adds seniors have more options with contracted providers.

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WATCH: Problems with long-term seniors care in B.C.

Problems with long-term seniors care in B.C.
Problems with long-term seniors care in B.C.

“And what we’ve seen with our experience with the health authorities is that it’s a roster of people who come through, sometimes who gets those shifts are based on seniority,” Howard said. “They can often be a revolving door of care providers who are coming to the same person each and every day.”

The changes will affect Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health and Island Health.

A joint statement from Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health says if clients already have ongoing relationships with a caregiver, the health authorities will work to ensure the client-caregiver relationship is maintained.

The statement says:

“We are also very concerned with the continuity of care. We’ve heard from many seniors that they want consistent care with the same care provider. That is something we intend to strengthen by bringing home support services in-house. And if clients already have ongoing relationships with a caregiver, we will work to ensure the client-caregiver relationship is maintained. These are issues that we will be working through with our contracted agencies as we transition the services in-house over the coming months. As for the concerns about seniority, staff working for the contracted agencies are already union members working on a seniority basis, and the union collective agreement does not change whether the employee is working for a private provider or a health authority. In fact, we recently participated in negotiations with the union to shift the collective agreement so that there is greater emphasis on continuity of client care rather than on seniority when it comes to assigning shifts, as we knew this was better for client care.”

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