The most vulnerable members of our communities are getting a helping hand from the provincial government.

Starting on July 15, changes to the long-term care access policy go into effect.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said these changes will be beneficial to seniors and their families by providing more variety in selecting long-term care homes and reducing wait times.

“The long-term care access policy will be revised to give people the ability to choose up to three preferred long-term care homes,” said Dix. “This will make it more likely that they will be admitted to a care home of their choosing and that the wait for admission will be shorter.”

Dix continued, “The revisions to the long-term care access policy will ensure that people receive detailed information about long-term care homes, including the average wait times to help people choose their preferred long-term care home.”

Dix made the announcement and said while a senior is waiting for a spot in their chosen care home, they will have the option of moving into an interim care home and will have more time to make that decision.

“While a person is waiting for availability in their preferred care home, they will have more time to accept or decline a move into an interim care home,” said Dix. “Previously, they had two days to decide, we’re no extending that to three days if an interim care home is the best option for them.”

People who have been on a waitlist the longest will be put at the top of the list, expediting their move to a care home, with a few exceptions.

In 2019, 19 percent of BC’s population is over 65, in 15 years, that rate will hit 25 percent.

These changes are part of the provincial government’s goal of strengthening supports and services for seniors, as the province is investing one billion dollars by 2021 to improve care for seniors.

How the investment breaks down:

Total – 1 billion

75 million over the next three years to expand respite care adult day programs

240 million by 2021 to increase the direct care seniors receive to 3.36 hours per resident-day, on average, in each health authority, by 2021.