Comox Valley Record

Ombudsperson visits Comox Valley to update report on seniors' care

BC Ombudsperson Kim Carter updated the Comox Valley on her office's report on seniors' care — including how the Province has responded to the report's recommendations.

The report has "really had a resonance with many people, and we've had an unprecedented response and interest on this issue," Carter told a packed room at the Best Western Plus Westerly Hotel on Monday afternoon.

"There's been significant public interest, and it's ongoing in this area. And there's been positive response from different groups, so not only the staff and the unions, but actually the private and not-for-profit service providers and facility operators have said they think the report is a good report."

The Best of Care: Getting it Right for Seniors in British Columbia Part 1 came out in 2009, and Part Two came out this February. Carter focused on Part Two of the report during this update, which was hosted by the Comox Valley Retired Teachers' Association.

Because the report is 446 pages long with 143 findings and 176 recommendations, Carter pointed out she could only touch on a few recommendations during her presentation.

She noted the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services — which made up of government and opposition members and makes recommendations for the Province's budget — recommended increasing support services for seniors at home.

"I thought it was very interesting that this year one of the things that was on their radar, and there aren't that many, but one of the things was home care and home support," she said. "It's very recent, November 2012, and I think it's an indication of how much life this issue has."

She also noted information has been added to the Home and Community Care website, including what services are available and how to contact local health authorities to arrange care has been added.

Carter also pointed to various other signs of progress on some of her recommendations on assisted living and residential care.

However, she said there is still plenty of work to be done outlining four potential focus areas. She said there should be better tracking of information and where funds are spent; an active information program should be developed so people can make care decisions more easily; public reporting of information needs to be improved; and the current home support program should be analyzed  to see if it's meeting its goal.

For more information, visit www.bcombudsperson.ca.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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