Take Action on Seniors Care

(The following article is from the Fall 2012 issue of The Seniors Hub, newsletter of the South Vancouver Seniors Council. It is reproduced here with the permission of Joan Wright, Seniors Hub Coordinator. For more information, please visit their website at www.theseniorshub,org)

Seniors and people with disabilities deserve to live with dignity and respect.

To take action on home and community care, please:

Tell Health Minister Dr. Margaret MacDiarmid that you want full implementation of the Ombudspersons’ recommendations on seniors’ care. Send a letter to the provincial government demanding that it make critical changes to improve the lives of BC seniors and people with disabilities. Call on the province to scrap its user fee scheme for hospital care. Tell the BC government to reverse penalizing fee increases for residential care.

Send a message about the state of Home and Community care in B.C to the premier, health minister, opposition leader, and your MLA at www. StandUPforSeniorsCare.ca – the Hospital Employee’s Union’s seniors’ campaign site. Become a Friend of Medicare and support the work of the BC Health Coalition. Tell the health minister a commitment to action on the Ombudsperson’s report is a commitment to better care for seniors in BC.

In 2008 the BC Ombudsperson launched an investigation in response to widespread public concern about the state of seniors’ care in B.C. The first of two reports, available in the Seniors Lounge at South Van Neighbourhood House, outlined ten recommendations to improve care for seniors living in B.C.’s residential care facilities.

The second report, released in February 2012, titled “The Best of Care: Getting It Right for Seniors in British Columbia (Part 2)”, makes 176 recommendations to improve quality and access to care for seniors in the province’s home and community care services. It outlines measures for improving quality, accessibility, and accountability in home and community care, in particular for home support services, assisted living, and residential care. The report provides a roadmap to improve seniors’ care in B.C.

The health minister responded with an announcement that the province will establish a seniors’ advocate position, a major accomplishment for advocates. However, the province’s response so far does not commit the government to addressing most of the problems outlined in the Ombudsperson’s report.

We need to make sure the government commits to fully implement the report. Start by sending a message to the health minister now.

Act now. Send a letter or an email: Ask the health minister to improve seniors’ care. See sample letter below.

Dear Minister MacDiarmid,

I am writing to urge you to fully implement the BC Ombudsperson’s recommendations on seniors’ care in B.C. The Ombudsperson’s Part 2 report is the result of a three-year investigation that received unprecedented public response and provides a roadmap for improving care for seniors in our province.

Recommendations based on such thorough investigation and public participation deserve careful consideration and a commitment to full implementation. The provincial government needs to make a clear commitment and develop a plan with timelines for doing so.

I am pleased that a number of the recommendations in the Ombudsperson’s 2009 Part 1 report on seniors’ care have been acted on. However, only 4 of 10 have been implemented to date.

I urge you to implement the remaining recommendations along with those contained in the Part 2 report. I am also pleased that a seniors’ advocate position will be established after consultation with British Columbians. Such a position will play a key role in improving quality of life for seniors in B.C. In order to best serve seniors, I feel the position must be independent, report to the legislature, and provide advocacy, support and information.

I believe that seniors deserve to live with dignity and respect and I look forward to action on the Ombudsperson’s Part 1 & 2 reports.

Sincerely, Your Name