Majority in BC Favour Shifting Health Investments from Acute to Home and Community Care

Insights West Poll Reveals 62% of BC Residents Want More Focus on Long-Term Care and Caring for Chronically Ill Elderly

Burnaby, BC – A province-wide poll conducted by Insights West on behalf of the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) provides a glimpse into public opinion on the continuing care sector and senior’s care. The poll covered a range of topics including everything from attitudes toward asset testing to perceptions on waitlist times and access to care.

Over 100 people attended a special Care to Chat industry panel discussion titled “Debunking the Myths and Misconceptions of BC’s Continuing Care Sector”. The event was held in Vancouver and was moderated by former Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Colin Hansen. The keynote speaker was Mario Canseco, Vice-President, Public Affairs for Insights West.

“The purpose of this poll and the special Care to Chat panel discussion is to foster a public dialogue about some of the more common myths and misconceptions of BC’s continuing care sector,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA. “A number of the survey results will come as a surprise to policy makers and those working within the sector.”

Over 800 British Columbians were asked for their perspectives on some common myths and misconceptions regarding senior’s care in the province. Here is some of what they had to say:

  • 78% believe regardless of where you live, the number of direct care hours funded by Health Authorities for a senior should be the same. In reality, the number of funded direct care hours per senior varies between and within Health Authorities.
  • $69: On average, British Columbians believe care home operators are provided $69 per day by the Health Authorities to provide a senior with three meals, snacks and beverages. In reality, the average funding is approximately $6-7 per day.
  • 87% believe the average length of stay for a senior in care is getting longer. In reality, the average length of stay is getting shorter. It can be as low as 18 months in some care homes. 
This compares to an average length of stay of over 4 years in the 1990s.
  • 61% believe wait times to get access to a care bed has either gotten worse or stayed the same. In reality, the average wait time for a senior to access residential care is 45 days. In 2001, median wait times were up to one year.
  • 47% believe access to home care services has been getting longer. In reality, the BC 
Ombudsperson reports “the inconsistent tracking of waiting times makes it impossible to know if, and for how long, seniors are waiting for home support services.”

We also asked for their opinion on a wide variety of other topics of interest:

  • 62% of British Columbians believe that the health care system focuses too much on acute care and not on providing ongoing care needs, such as long term care or caring for the 
chronically ill elderly.
  • 61% disagree that residents with net assets over $1 million dollars should remain entitled to a publicly subsidized care bed or home care services.
  • 54% say they worry about not having enough money upon retirement to cover their health care costs – including long-term care.
  • 68% believe the government is not adequately funding residential care services.
  • 84% of British Columbians believe that as seniors enter residential care facilities with 
increased acuity or medical complexity, government funding should increase to meet these care needs.
  • 38% believe physical abuse of seniors in care has gotten worse over the last decade.
  • 91% of British Columbians support the development of a national dementia strategy, which 
would outline investments in long-term care, including the prevention and early treatment of dementia

“The poll outlines varying degrees of concern from British Columbians, particularly in regards to the kind of system that will be in place when they require residential or homecare services,” says Mario Canseco. “Still, there are specific issues where the analysis from residents is too optimistic, such as the amount of money spent on meals, and others where the perceptions are dire and do not match the reality, such as wait times.”

In March 2015, the Ministry of Health released a series of policy papers which referenced the need to shift health investments from more costly acute care to the community services sector. The paper titled Primary and Community Care in BC: A Strategic Policy Framework states
 “…appropriate reallocations from the acute to the community services sector must become part of go forward health authority planning and going forward a majority of net new funding must be assigned to developing primary and community services.”

For a complete breakdown and analysis of the survey results, please visit http://www.bccare.ca/survey.

For information on the top myths and misconceptions regarding BC’s continuing care sector, click here.

About BCCPA:

The BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is a non-profit society which has been serving private and non-profit community care providers for over 35 years. We have over 260 facility and commercial members across British Columbia. In addition to creating over 18,000 direct and indirect jobs in the continuing care sector, BCCPA members care for more than 16,000 seniors each day in residential care and assisted living, and over 11,000 each year through home support.”

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary and has fifteen full-time employees.

For further information, please contact:

Keivan Hirji
Communications and Events Coordinator, BCCPA
604-736-4233 ext 233
604-910-6705

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
778-929-0490
mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 

Photograph: Lars Plougmann