Frail seniors focus of $8.4-million funding
About $8.4 million will flow from the provincial government to Interior Health Authority to address health care for frail seniors, people with chronic disease and those with mental illness or substance-abuse issues.
The money is part of provincial spending of $50 million.
The IHA will use $2.2 million for a BreatheWell program for people with chronic obstructive-pulmonary disease, hiring two respiratory therapists to work with those patients to manage their symptoms and avoid unnecessary hospital visits.
About $2.7 million will be applied to nine communities in the IHA region to deal with mental-health clients.
Some of the money will be used in Kamloops to hire four full-time-equivalent staff for the King Street IHA clinic, including social workers, a nurse and life-skills workers.
A Home First program to help seniors will receive $3.5 million throughout the health-authority area, which will be used to hire 23 full-time-equivalent staff to create support teams.
In Kamloops, the program has hired an occupational therapist, physiotherapist, two part-time rehabilitation therapists and one full-time nurse to work with seniors with complex health-care needs.
The new programs and initiatives will be put into place over the next three years.