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Changes to B.C. care home wait list aim to offer more options to seniors

Last Updated Jul 4, 2019 at 10:30 am PST

FILE (iStock Photo)

Consent is now required from an adult to move them into a care home

Seniors won't lose their place on the wait list if they take a temporary spot while waiting for a preferred home

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Seniors looking for a care home will no longer have to pick the first bed that opens up in British Columbia as the province announces changes to the rules for wait lists.

Starting July 15, seniors and their families will be able to pick up to three preferred care homes, and if they don’t get their first choice, they can keep their spot on the wait list while receiving supports at home or going to another place temporarily.

The changes also formally establish consent is required from an adult to move them into a care home.

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The province says the changes will give seniors more of a voice in where they choose to live, which is something senior advocate Isobel MacKenzie supports.

“There’s no more penalizing somebody by making them take an available bed or turning down a facility they don’t want to go to,” she said Wednesday following the announcement in Victoria.

MacKenzie adds the province now needs to address the regulations for home support to make it more affordable.

“That’s the regulation that says if your income is $28,000 a year and you need a daily visit of home support, we’re going to charge you $8,800 a year or 33 per cent of your income,” she says. “I think everybody recognizes that’s not affordable and that’s not right.”

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BC Care Providers Association head Daniel Fontaine calls the changes long overdue, but says the next step is making sure there’s enough beds in the province.

“If all those care homes are full and there’s wait lists on them, that really doesn’t necessarily address the broader, bigger issue about the fact that our population’s aging and more people are going to be requiring care.”

He says thousands of new beds will be needed to deal with the rising number of seniors in B.C.