Lifestyle

Marteny: Health authorities differ in services each provides

The B.C. Ministry of Health sets the province-wide goals, standards and performance agreements for health service delivery by the various health authorities, the administrative body responsible for the planning, delivery and evaluation of provincial health care services.

The health authorities are Northern Health, Interior Health, Vancouver Island Health Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health.

However, the way that each health authority chooses to deliver our health services can differ.

For seniors, it’s important for families to find out exactly what services and care is provided for assisted living and residential care.

If a senior is being moved to a different health authority, the family may be expecting a certain level of care based on what the seniors had been receiving. So they might be surprised to find out that’s not the case.

When seniors require additional care, the health authority for the area may become involved and do an assessment to determine an individual’s physical and mental needs. The intent is to get a senior the care that they require and keep them safe.

The health authorities fund assisted living care and residential care. Assisted living and residential care is also available through privately owned facilities. The monthly cost can be up to $5,000 and there is usually a waiting list to get in.

Another level of care the health authorities have is where seniors would receive rehabilitation, for example after surgery. The plan is for the seniors to be able to recover enough to safely return to their homes.

While seniors are living at home or in supportive housing, activities of daily living services could be put in place. The families would arrange for this through a private company and pay for it themselves.

These services include such things as dressing, bathing, grooming, mobility and assistance with eating. Using these services can help keep seniors in their homes longer. The health authorities may also put daily living services in place.

Families should be prepared and watch for when seniors start to have any mobility and/or continence issues.

Also, families should consider if they feel that their parents are safe being alone, especially at night.

The health authorities should be contacted to assess how well the seniors are doing. Assistance may not be required immediately, but the seniors are then on the care need radar of the health authority.

A case manager will be assigned to do further follow-up if it is determined that any is needed.

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