Fraser Health finds not all seniors in long-term care should be there

Dec 21, 2016

Costly long-term residential care beds are being occupied by some seniors who shouldn’t be in them, according to a review by Fraser Health.

About eight per cent of the 8,000 seniors in long-term care beds in the Fraser Health area would be classified as having “light physical or cognitive needs” and could have been supported in the community. Instead, they were wrongly assessed and referred by their physician, a hospital liaison, home health care liaison or community care professional to a long-term residential care facility.

“Recently, we had opened 403 new residential care beds and in light of the beds being opened, we looked at our (long-term care) residential capacity,” explained Tasleem Juma of the Health Authority. “We found a number of people being advised to go into residential care that could have been supported in the community.”

Fraser Health Authority held four information sessions on admission rules and procedures in late November and about 300 professionals showed up. Juma said the sessions were designed to help the professionals doing the assessments understand who should and who shouldn’t be referred to long-term residential care.

“It’s a beginning step to a wider conversation on how we can better support residents at home,” she said.

“We found light-care seniors, with no cognitive or physical difficulties, in residential beds. After people had sold their homes, the default situation would be they would go into residential care but you don’t have to do that — you could go into assisted living or downsize to an apartment and have support. We need to use the (long-term residential beds) we have efficiently and deliver it to the population who need it and when they need it.”

Juma said the vast majority of seniors want to stay in their homes for as long as possible.

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