B.C., feds sign $733M deal for seniors’ health care

B.C. and Ottawa announce $733M in new federal funding towards health care for seniors. The funds, over the next five years, will help improve long-term care and staffing shortage issues. Cecilia Hua reports.

By Charlie Carey and Cecilia Hua

The B.C. government and its federal counterparts are investing more than $700 million into aged-care services in the province, as part of a deal that will stretch over the next five years.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix explained Monday that the funding is to help residents “age with dignity, closer to home, through improved access to home and community care and long-term care.”

The Ministry of Health shared that the Aging with Dignity Agreement — worth a total of $733 million — will go towards expanding home and community care services; improving the availability of palliative and end-of-life care; and improving the quality of long-term care services.

“As B.C.’s senior population grows rapidly and in some communities at an unprecedented rate, so does the demand for health-care services. The bilateral funding agreement announced today bolsters B.C.’s investments to meet that need in the short and long term,” Dix said.

“I look forward to partnering with the federal government to ensure that B.C.’s seniors can age with dignity at home and to continue our collaboration in bettering the health and well-being of people in B.C.”

The provincial ministry added that it recognizes the “significant disparities in Indigenous health outcomes” and it committed to “meaningfully engage and work together with Indigenous partners to support improved access to quality and culturally appropriate health-care services.”

Venus Villaos, a resident care aid with Vancouver Coastal Health, says the funding will help address staffing shortages and allow workers, like herself, to better provide for seniors in their homes.

“I’ve dedicated my career to helping others and I want to continuing doing so in a positive, caring environment that considers the needs of staff and the residents who live here,” Villaos said.

“They know where they are, and they’re familiar with their home, so it’s very important to care for them in the comfort of their home. In my experience, it’s actually knowing the person and their social history, that contributes to giving better care.”

B.C. is the first province to sign the Aging with Dignity Agreement in the country and is expected to give an annual progress report.

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