New funding for Kamloops care aides has helped Shane Kallusky move from casual to part-time work.
Health Minister Adrian Dix was in Kamloops on Friday and he added details to a funding announcement made by Premier John Horgan five months ago.
In September, the premier announced an additional $240 million in funding over three years for staffing levels in seniors’ facilities across B.C.
This fiscal year, the health authorities received $48.4 million, Next year, they will split $80 million and another $110 million in the third year, Dix said.
Rita Stanchfield, a care aide at The Hamlets at Westsyde, said the additional funding to provide more hours will enable more one-on-one time with their seniors.
“Some of them we don’t even know. They’ve been there two, three years. We don’t know whether they have grandchildren because we’re too busy,” said the shop steward who is responsible for caring for 14 people.
Kallusky, a care aide from Overlander Residential Care, said last fall’s funding has made his job less stressful, noting he has fewer people to look after than before and set hours.
He said there were about 15 people at Overlander who received new positions. When Kalusky was a casual worker, he would only get called in when someone was sick or burned out.
The health ministry estimates approximately 1,500 new full-time equivalent positions will be added in B.C. by the end of the three-year funding, including 900 care aides.
On Friday at the Centre for Seniors Information in Brocklehurst, Dix noted five seniors’ facilities in Kamloops received almost $1 million between them for use during the 2018-2019 fiscal year, which ends on March 31.
The Kamloops portion of funding is part of $5.3 million that was used for 156,000 hours of increased staffing at a number of seniors’ facilities in the Interior Health region.
In Kamloops, the funding breakdown at private sector facilities for this fiscal year is as follows:
• Brocklehurst Gemstone Care Centre: $255,000; • The Hamlets at Westsyde: $242,000; • Kamloops Seniors Village in Aberdeen: $210,000; • Pine Grove Lodge in North Kamloops: $173,000; • Ridgeview Lodge in Brocklehurst: $86,000.
As was first explained in the original announcement on Sept. 25, 2018, Dix said the money allocated is the first in a three-year funding plan to reach the target 3.36 care hours per resident per day, on average, across health authorities by 2021.
“In 2017, less than three in 20 care homes met the standard, including virtually all the publicly funded beds in private and non-profit care homes,” Dix said. “For seniors, this meant below-standard care, fewer baths and a lower quality of life than our parents and grandparents deserve.”
According to the province, in 2016, the average direct care hours was 3.11 per-resident day, and the new funding will increase the average to 3.24 by 2019, reaching 3.36 by 2021.
“It [the funding] means some of the most deeply personal care you can get will be better, and it will be better again next year,” Dix said.
Across the 31 residential care homes that received funding in the Interior, approximately 77,000 additional direct care hours have been provided by the end of last September.