“Hands Off My Home Care” campaign launches to give seniors a voice #handsoffmyhomecare

Seniors care sector advocate raises alarm over disruptions in home support

Burnaby, B.C. (May 2, 2019) – B.C. seniors and their family members are the focus of a new public awareness campaign around pending changes in publicly-funded home-based care that industry experts say will cause service disruptions and drive up costs. The campaign by BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) – dubbed “Hands Off My Home Care” – provides a website (handsoffmyhomecare.ca) that will give B.C. seniors their first opportunity to be heard by provincial MLAs when it comes to how home care is delivered.

In March, without any public consultation or advanced notice, B.C.’s NDP government announced that it would expropriate over 4,000 workers currently employed by six non-government home care agencies in Metro Vancouver and on Vancouver Island.

“Seniors and their care providers were not asked for their feedback prior to announcing these changes, which is why we want to give seniors a way to have their voices heard,” says Daniel Fontaine, BC Care Providers Association CEO. The “Hands Off My Home Care” campaign (hashtag #handsoffmyhomecare) will give voice to the concerns of thousands of B.C. seniors, and to those who take care of them in their homes.”

In a study conducted by Research Co. from March 28 to March 31, 2019 among 800 adults, 81 per cent of respondents agreed that that the government should have consulted with seniors and care providers before making this decision.

By not renewing the contracts for the 6 non-government care providers, over 4,000 unionized workers will have to be transitioned to their new employer. Since realizing that hundreds of non-unionized staff could lose their jobs, health authorities are scrambling to find job openings leaving many workers and their families hanging in the balance.

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“The government has yet to provide the public with a bona-fide business case as to how this expropriation will enhance home care services for B.C. seniors,” says Fontaine. “What we are certain about is that it will cost taxpayers more — as much as a 25 per cent increase overall when health care costs are already skyrocketing.”

BCCPA wrote letters to both the Hon. Petitpas-Taylor, Canada’s Minister of Health and B.C.’s independent Auditor General Carol Bellringer, requesting a full review of the changes in home care. It has been over 2 years since the federal government committed $785 million over ten years toward home care in B.C., and seniors are still waiting to see any service enhancements.

BCCPA are urging the government to forestall any major changes to home care delivery until appropriate levels of consultation with both seniors and their care providers has concluded.

In 2012, the B.C. Ombudsperson completed a major review of seniors care services and made a series of recommendations for improvements. In an update report issued in February 2019, the Ombudsperson noted government should be “conducting a full systemic evaluation of the effectiveness and cost of the home support program…”

This recommendation has received no response from the government, and no evaluation was undertaken prior to the decision to significantly restructure the home care system.

“We know it is just a matter of time before seniors experience disruptions in the continuity of care they have come to expect,” says Fontaine. “We’re encouraging the public to visit www.handsoffmyhomecare.ca in order to share their stories and get a message to their local MLA.

“When enough people speak up, only then will the B.C. government stop and listen to the concerns of seniors.”

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MEDIA CONTACT:

Rumana D’Souza
(778) 681-4859
rumana@bccare.ca

About BC Care Providers Association

Established in 1977, the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 340 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, and commercial members from across British Columbia.