VANCOUVER – A report released Wednesday is further evidence that the Liberal government has failed to meet the needs of our most vulnerable seniors.
A report produced by Simon Fraser University professor Marcy Cohen shows that between 2001 and 2010, seniors over 75 faced significant declines in access to home and community health care.
“This report puts numbers to the stories we have been hearing over the years from seniors, from their families and from their caregivers,” said Katrine Conroy, the New Democrat critic for seniors. “And it shows quite clearly that the Liberals’ failure to meet these health care needs has a cascading effect on the health care of all British Columbians.”
Cohen’s report, entitled “Caring for BC’s Aging Population,” shows that over the first decade of this century, access to residential care dropped by 21 per cent and access to home support by 30 per cent. Overall home and community services for this age group declined by 14 per cent.
The report goes on to say that these reductions in service to seniors left them with no other option than to stay in hospitals; the number of seniors requiring an “alternate level of care” in hospitals increased by more than 35 per cent. That increases pressure on all hospital systems down the line, Conroy said.
“This failure hits anyone who needs to access the health care system,” said Conroy. “It should be bad enough that they have failed to meet the needs of seniors, but this report shows that overcrowding in hospitals – resulting from too many seniors in too many acute care beds – stretches resources too thin. That increases wait lists for other services.”
Conroy noted this is not the first time the Liberals have been hit by a scathing indictment of their handling of seniors care. In February, ombudsperson Kim Carter released a damning report on the issue, with 143 findings and 176 recommendations.
“The health minister’s response was to issue a six-item ‘action plan’ with no real action. It called for more reviews and more delays. Meanwhile, seniors continue to go without the services they need,” Conroy said.
“Adrian Dix and the New Democrats have been calling for better access to community care and a more comprehensive approach to home care.
“Seniors deserve better than what they’re getting from this government. It’s time the Liberals owned up to their failures and put in place plans to fix the mess they’ve created.”