Northern Health plans to hire more senior care workers. This, after a funding announcement from the province. $500 million will be invested into senior programs over the next four years.
The Northern Health Executive Lead for Seniors Population, Tim Rowe, estimates there are about 25,000 people over the age of 65 in our region. “The money is desperately needed. Our seniors population in the North is growing dramatically, in fact it is the fastest growing population for seniors in the Province of BC.”
The funds will be divided among the five health authorities, but how it will be distributed is still being worked out. “Of course Northern Health is our smallest Health Authority,” says the Minister of Health, Dr. Terry Lake, “but the population in some areas of the North are older so they will see this money directed towards services in all areas of the North.”
Northern Health plans to use the funds towards hiring more staff. It will look at each of the Long-Term Care facilities, and determine where the gaps are. “Nursing care is obviously important, ” says Rowe, “but we need to look at other services like recreational services, the occupational therapy services, physio therapy services, so we can support clients to enjoy and be active in that environment.”
Rowe hopes to have a clearer picture of what funds will look like by the summer. “We will start having conversations surely in May and it will continue in the summer months, so hopefully we will see some investments later this year.”