BCCPA hears from the Central Okanagan
Listening Tour roundtables identify key challenges facing home care and assisted living providers
At the first stop on BCCPA’s listening tour in Kelowna, BCCPA’s Mike Klassen and Rebecca Morris held separate roundtables with home care and assisted living (A.L.) providers.
“B.C. is a diverse province and providers face different challenges, depending on where they are,” says Morris.“The roundtables held this week will help inform our research and advocacy efforts by giving us insight into the specific situations faced by providers in the Central Okanagan region.”
BCCPA was pleased to have strong attendance at both events, with representation from Interior Health, as well as government funded, non-profit and private providers.
The key issues brought forward by providers can be summarized into four areas – staffing, funding, regulations, and technology.
“As we anticipated, staffing registered as a critical concern for both A.L. and Home Care providers,” says Klassen. “The experiences shared by providers in Kelowna mirrored what the research is telling us – B.C. is at the precipice of a labour shortage across the continuing care sector.”
Recruitment, training and retention were all noted as significant issues facing both the A.L. and Home Care sector. For A.L. providers, shortages were apparent not just for health care workers but in the areas of hospitality, too.
“Providers made in clear that more can be done to help people see the continuing care sector as a place where they can find meaningful work,” says Klassen. “We believe that the federal and provincial governments are open to supporting new initiatives that will improve care by creating jobs in this growing area of B.C.’s economy, especially in remote rural and First Nations communities.”
In relation to funding, looking at maximum delivery times for publicly funded home care, reassessing staffing models to address increasing acuity in A.L., and increasing mental health supports in the community were all themes which registered prominently.
For A.L. providers BCCPA heard significant concerns about Bill 16 and how changing regulations are likely to affect A.L. homes who were already struggling to respond to the needs of seniors who are entering care frailer than ever before. While Home Care providers discussed limited regulation in the sector, and the advantages and draw-backs of a self-regulating model.
Finally, providers representing both A.L. and Home Care spoke to the benefits of technology – both in terms of the tools they are currently using, and in terms of how it can benefit the sector going forward.
“There is an opportunity to maximize technology to develop a better flow of information, both within organizations and between providers and the health authority. We also heard clearly that providers are open to innovation in this area and that BCCPA may have a role in bringing solutions to the forefront,” says Klassen.
Throughout our discussions with providers it was underscored that there the challenges faced today are likely to become more complex as the baby boomer generation ages.
“Baby boomers will be a game changer for the continuing care sector – providers are expecting to need to adapt to a generation that is more independent, choosier and more outspoken about their needs,” says Morris.
As BCCPA’s listening tour continues we will be taking what we hear and using it to inform our advocacy and research. Stay tuned for more news.
For further inquiries regarding the BCCPA Listening Tour, contact Rebecca Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those wishing to register for the upcoming round tables are encouraged to register in advance (click the links below) as space is limited.
The upcoming dates are as follows:
Photos: (above) meeting with A.L. providers group; (inset) meeting with home care industry representatives