Family-and-friend caregivers to receive much-needed relief with expanded supports

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News Release
Vancouver
Monday, June 18, 2018 11:45 AM

The Ministry of Health is investing $75 million to expand respite care and adult day programs, helping both seniors and their loved ones, announced Adrian Dix, Minister of Health.

“Many B.C. seniors count on their spouses, children and close friends to help them stay at home, and cope and manage chronic conditions,” said Dix. “Caregiving without adequate supports can impact the whole family, particularly a person’s ability to live at home, which is what most seniors and their loved ones want. Giving seniors better options and supporting unpaid caregivers to take time for themselves is a necessity.”
Over the next three years, the Province will improve and strengthen respite services and adult day programs to support seniors and their family-and-friend caregivers. The number of respite beds will be increased, and overnight care at home will be made more accessible. In addition, the number of adult day program spaces will be increased, and the hours of operation will be expanded to provide services on evenings and weekends. As part of the work, health authorities are developing plans to meet localized needs of family-and-friend caregivers and seniors in their regions.
  
“The August 2017 report from the Office of the Seniors Advocate estimates that 31% of seniors had a primary caregiver in distress,” Dix said. “According to the report, the number of clients accessing adult day programs and the number of hours per client decreased in recent years. Over the past five years, there were also a significant cut in the number of respite beds. Under the direction of Premier Horgan, we are changing direction by expanding respite care and adult day programs. This plan will provide more direct care for seniors and afford family-and-friend caregivers time for themselves to reduce stress and exhaustion.”

“This expansion of respite care is a strategic investment in seniors’ care. It recognizes that caring for seniors involves caring for their caregivers,” said Anne Kang, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors.

“These clients represent the most highly vulnerable seniors who, without caregivers, would likely need to move to residential care,” said Isobel Mackenzie, seniors advocate. “By increasing access to adult day programs and respite beds and capacity, caregivers will be better supported resulting in a healthier caregiver population, and a better quality of life for seniors.”

“This is exceptionally good news for family-and-friend caregivers in British Columbia, who provide over 80% of the care at home, often without support, and at great financial, physical and emotional cost,” Barb MacLean, executive director, Family Caregivers of British Columbia. “Having access to the right support, at the right time, is absolutely essential for caregivers to be able to continue to care without burning out or becoming a patient themselves.”

Respite services are provided at home through home-support services in the community, through adult day programs, or on a short-term basis in a long-term care facility, hospice or other community care setting. Adult day programs assist seniors and adults with disabilities to continue to live in their own homes by providing supportive group programs and activities in the community. Services may include health-care services, including nursing and rehabilitation activities, nutrition, bathing, foot care, telephone check-ins and caregiver support, including respite, caregiver support groups, information and education programs.

Quick Facts:
• It is estimated there are approximately one million family-and-friend caregivers in the province who help seniors with daily activities, ranging from a ride to the grocery store or a medical appointment to assistance with activities, such as housekeeping and yard work, managing finances, helping with medical treatments and providing personal care, such as bathing. Often the caregivers are also managing families of their own and working.
• People interested in receiving caregiver respite or adult day services, or know of someone who might be in need of these services, can contact the home and community care office in their health authority, or have a health-care professional make a referral on their behalf.
• The strategy to strengthen supports for caregivers is part of work underway to improve the quality of life for seniors in B.C.
• A total of $768 million over three years is being allocated by the Ministry of Health for investments in primary care, home and community care, residential care and assisted living.
• A further $249 million over the next three years will be provided by the federal government under the Canada/British Columbia Home and Community Care funding agreement.

Learn More:
To learn more about supports, information and education offered to caregivers in B.C., visit the Family Caregivers of BC: www.familycaregiversbc.ca/

To learn more about the Office of the Seniors Advocate report on caregiver distress, visit: www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/osa-reports/caregivers-in-distress-a-growing-problem-2/

To learn more about B.C.’s new primary care strategy, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2018PREM0034-001010

B.C. should allow physician assistants

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Times Colonist

MAY 27, 2018 12:05 AM

The B.C. government should be applauded for launching a renewed approach to primary care. Patients in B.C. deserve faster and improved access to primary care, which is a key pillar in any successful health system. A focus on team-based care will be critical to this success.

There simply aren’t enough providers to care for everyone in B.C., especially those in remote communities. Recruiting more family doctors and hiring more nurse practitioners will most certainly help.

What was not included in this important announcement was the introduction of physician assistants into B.C. PAs work independently under the supervision of a physician and are able to diagnose, develop treatment plans and work closely with patients throughout their care.

PAs practice in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick and in our Canadian Armed Forces. They are also critical members of the health-care team in the U.K., the Netherlands, the U.S. and elsewhere.

They’re used in all of these jurisdictions because evidence proves that PAs reduce wait times, improve care and save money. It’s time for B.C. to introduce PAs so that patients and families can benefit from their skills as part of the health care team.

Trevor Stone

President

Canadian Association of Physician Assistants

How Ontario’s next government could relieve overcrowded hospitals

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By THERESA BOYLE Health Reporter

Sun., June 3, 2018

The number of patients who occupied hospital beds even though they no longer required hospital care hit a record level in Ontario this past winter, the Star has learned.

As a result, emergency room wait times also hit an all-time high.

Women’s College Hospital is performing knee replacement surgery as an ambulatory procedure, in which patients are sent home the same day. (LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR)

Women’s College Hospital is performing knee replacement surgery as an ambulatory procedure, in which patients are sent home the same day. (LUCAS OLENIUK / TORONTO STAR)

Almost 5,000 patients, most of them frail and elderly, were stuck in hospital beds because long-term-care homes were full or because it was unsafe for them to return home without more support, according to newly audited data from the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) and the province’s Health Ministry.

This caused a bottleneck for patients admitted to hospitals through emergency departments. The 90th-percentile wait time for transfer to an in-patient bed was 40.9 hours, meaning 90 per cent of patients waited less than that time before being admitted.

It’s not surprising then that “hallway medicine” has become a major theme in the June 7 provincial election. There has been a lot of talk on the campaign trail about hospitals housing patients in “unconventional spaces” such as bathrooms and storage rooms. Health care always ranks as a top concern among voters, but rarely gets this kind of attention.

While health-care leaders are pleased that the topic is being debated, they are disappointed by the simplistic solutions being offered. The health system is struggling to meet today’s demands and is nowhere near prepared for the challenges that will come in 20 years, when the number of seniors will double, they warn.

“It is refreshing that for the first time in a political election we are talking about bed capacity,” said Alan Drummond, an emergency doctor from Perth, Ont., and spokesperson for the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians. “But we’re just reacting. We’re not planning.”

Drummond says Ontario is not prepared for the looming onslaught of dementia and Alzheimer’s cases: “ We have no system. We have silos of health. There is no comprehensive long-term vision or plan for how we are going to pay for it.”

Of the 30,000 acute and non-acute beds in Ontario’s 143 hospitals, 4,756 were occupied in January by what are known as “alternate level of care,” or ALC, patients. These patients no longer required hospital care, but were stuck in hospitals while waiting for long-term care or home care, according to the new data. (Acute care beds are typically found in hospitals with emergency rooms, while non-acute beds are located in rehabilitation, complex continuing care and psychiatric hospitals.)

The previous record for ALC patients was set a year earlier when 4,553 were stuck in hospital beds. The longest ER wait times prior to January were in 2008, when the 90th percentile wait was 40.2 hours. (The province began tracking ALC numbers in 2011 and ER wait times in 2008.)

Dr. Alan Drummond says Ontario is not prepared for the looming onslaught of dementia and Alzheimer's cases (SUPPLIED)

Dr. Alan Drummond says Ontario is not prepared for the looming onslaught of dementia and Alzheimer’s cases (SUPPLIED)

Overcrowding peaked in January even though officials opened 1,200 extra hospital beds and created 200 new supportive housing units for frail seniors leaving hospitals. They also facilitated the development of 600 new “transitional spaces” for ALC patients in community settings, such as former retirement homes.

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Cities & States Sue Big Pharma, Targeting the Firms Who Profited from Peddling Addictive Opioids

opioids

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced earlier this year that the city would sue manufacturers and distributors of prescription opioids to account for their part in the city’s ongoing deadly opioid epidemic. Firms named in the suit include Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and McKesson Corporation. The Guardian reports that more than 60 cities are suing Big Pharma over opioids. An explosive New York Times report has revealed that manufacturers of the drug OxyContin knew it was highly addictive as early as 1996, the first year after the drug hit the market. 

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO: This is a man-made crisis if ever there was one, fueled by corporate greed, fueled by the actions of big pharmaceutical companies that hooked millions of Americans on opioids to begin with. And some of them still are addicted to prescription drugs, and others have migrated to heroin. But we know where it began for so many people. And, bluntly, it was so a very few people could profit, and, obviously, the horrible actions of criminals who sell drugs and profit in death, as well. That combination has led to where we are today. We need to remember that those origins at the root of this problem means it’s a problem that can be defeated. We can fight back against the big pharmaceutical companies. We can fight back against the criminals who peddle drugs. We can change in so many ways, including changing the entire culture around this issue, so we can help people.

To read the full article, click on 

https://www.democracynow.org/2018/6/1/cities_states_sue_big_pharma_targeting?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=2d4c38c3e2-Daily_Digest_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-2d4c38c3e2-191686713