Stepping Up Seniors' Care
The Province and Northern Health are working together to ensure that seniors in the North are getting the care they need. From Northern Health's new five-year action plan to a substantial seniors' housing & support grant, this subset of the population is on track to getting the care they deserve.
Northern Health's action plan will provide the framework for the effective delivery of seniors’ health services in northern B.C. over the next five years. The plan has been derived from the findings of a consultation report on Healthy Aging and Seniors’ Wellness released in 2014 and aligns with the Ministry of Health seniors’ strategy.
“We know that the seniors’ population in northern B.C. is growing more rapidly in proportion to the rest of the province, which has profound implications for the delivery of health services in rural and remote areas,” said Darryl Plecas, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors. “The action plan shows it was made for seniors’ in northern B.C. by aligning with the Ministry of Health seniors’ strategy and Northern Health consultation from last year.”
The seniors’ action plan outlines three areas of focus, including keeping seniors healthy in their communities through a population health approach, providing integrated primary and community care with early recognition and support for frailty, and taking a rehabilitative approach to providing quality of care in hospital and residential care settings. To best support older adults within Northern Health’s resources, the focus of the operational plan will be on health promotion, prevention and community support for healthy aging.
“We are committed to developing initiatives to address healthy aging and seniors’ wellness in consultation with key stakeholder groups,” said Charles Jago, Chair of Northern Health’s Board of Directors. “I am pleased to see that the results of consultations we undertook in 2013/14 have led to the development of a comprehensive strategy that will ensure the provision of services to support healthy aging.”
The seniors’ action plan has been developed using feedback gathered by Northern Health’s Board of Directors in 2013/14 through consultation with seniors and seniors’ groups. Consultations were held in communities across northern B.C., with the process involving public sessions, focus groups and First Nations focus groups.
“We need to look at innovative ways to care for our aging population, and this action plan helps with that goal,” said Dr. Nicole Ebert. “We want people to be healthy and happy throughout their life, and in partnership with health professionals and communities we can help accomplish that goal.”
The seniors’ action plan also aligns with the Ministry of Health’s seniors’ strategy. The strategy places a focus on offering more effective care options in the community to help reduce inappropriate hospitalizations and improve quality of life. The Northern Health seniors’ action plan supports this goal.
In addition to the seniors’ action plan, a sub-strategy to address end of life and palliative care has also been developed with a focus on strengthening community based services and a draft dementia care strategy is in the works. These sub-strategies will be used in conjunction with the seniors’ action plan to address the needs of northern B.C. residents as they age.
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Furthermore, the Province (in concert with UBCM) are continuing their Seniors' Housing & Support Initiative (SHSI). Launched in 2004, SHSI was created through a one-time $2 million grant from the (now) Ministry of Community, Sport & Cultural Development to assist local governments to prepare for an aging population. Between 2007 and 2014, the Ministry of Health provided an additional $2.75 million to further support the initiative and to incorporate a focus on age-friendly projects.
The Ministry of Health has now committed another $500,000 in funding to the program and UBCM is pleased to announce that a maximum of 25 grants of up to $20,000.00 are available for 2016 community planning initiatives or community projects.
Applications are currently being accepted for the program (which does not require any funds matching from the municipality that receives the grant).
For more information on either of these programs, please visit the respective websites, listed below: