In Improving Care for B.C. Seniors: An Action Plan (February 2012), the Province committed to establishing an Office of the Seniors Advocate to support a more accessible, transparent and accountable approach to addressing the issues and interests of seniors in British Columbia.
The Office of the Seniors Advocate routinely engages with B.C.’s seniors through town hall meetings, community events and surveys. By directly engaging with seniors about the issues they face, the Seniors Advocate is able to understand where the Office should direct its research efforts. The Office conducts surveys on an ongoing basis pertaining to a range of seniors’ services. The latest survey on home support was informed by the Advocate’s finding that many seniors across the province have concerns around the breadth of home support services and are anxious about the availability of supports to stay in their homes as they age.
As a result, the Office of the Seniors Advocate launched its largest survey to date, encompassing almost 17,500 home support clients across B.C. In the fall of 2015, surveys were mailed to home support clients and their families. Questions ranged from topics such as satisfaction with service, quality of care received, assessment of home support workers’ aptitude, and medication use. The full survey results are available on the Office of the Seniors Advocate website (www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca). This survey will inform the Office’s upcoming home support review. Other upcoming surveys from the Office include a survey of HandyDART users and a survey of all residential care clients; both surveys are underway as of September 2016.
- 5,336 completed surveys (31% response rate) were received from home support clients.
- 4,040 completed surveys were received from family caregivers.
Input leads to action:
Survey results highlighted that most clients receiving home support are satisfied with the service they receive.
- The survey results also underscore areas of service requiring attention. These include:
- Continuity of home support workers; rotating workers can erode continuity of care
- The need for increased services including housekeeping.
- The need for increased education about medications and side effects.
- The Office of the Seniors Advocate will be conducting further examination of these issues. A comprehensive review of the home support system is currently underway, to be released in fall 2016, where specific recommendations will be directed to service providers and policy makers. The results of the home support survey will inform the comprehensive review.