There’s a demographic shift taking place across BC, and as the population continues to age, the BC Nurses’ Union says investing in seniors care, including long-term care, needs to be a top priority for all levels of government.
“We know that most facilities around the province are unable to provide the daily average of 3.36 hours of direct care per resident, set as a goal by the provincial government,” says BCNU president Christine Sorensen. “While our nurses take pride in playing a vital role in promoting the health and well-being of seniors, the erosion of health support services is making it increasingly difficult to succeed.”
BC’s long-term care nurses face constant challenges in their efforts to provide quality care, including chronic underfunding, short staffing and heavy workloads. Recruitment and retention challenges continue to exist everywhere, especially in smaller, rural communities around the province. In addition, patient acuity has shifted and seniors health care needs are becoming more complex.
The National Dementia Strategy states that nine seniors are diagnosed with dementia every hour in Canada, and that in 2015, there were over 61,000 people in BC living with dementia.
BCNU's regional chairs and elected representatives will be visiting residential care facilities across their regions today and through the week, recognizing the valuable work long-term care nurses provide.
One of BCNU’s main priorities this federal election is the call for a national seniors strategy that includes a coordinated set of federal, provincial and municipal policies and programs that address the needs of seniors. The hope is to create dialogue with all current and prospective MPs on how they plan to improve care and support for seniors.
“In BC, it’s expected that by 2031, one-in-four people will be over age 65,” says Sorensen.“Our long-term care nurses are already under pressure to provide care under unrealistic expectations. How will the candidates from every party seeking to form the new federal government work with the provinces and communities to manage these needs over the next decade?”
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