Advocates concerned about rise of private assisted living beds on Vancouver Island – Nanaimo News NOW

Andrew Longhurst, a research association at the Centre, told NanaimoNewsNOW the drop in accessibility for seniors isnt being matched by the increase in beds which are privately paid for.

Data from the Centre showed 317 private assisted living beds were added within Island Health from 2010 to 2017. By 2017, 40 per cent of beds were private-pay, up from 26 per cent in 2010.

Over a nearly 10-year periodwere adding private-pay units at a time when there was a loss of publicly subsidized units, which is concerning.

Longhurst said many of the privately-paid for beds are draining seniors of their income.

(The cost) is entirely negotiated between an individual and the operator. So that can create significant strains on peoples financial resources when those services are not regulated in anyway, he said. Couples struggle to pay that cost. Its especially unaffordable for seniors living alone, who tend to have much lower incomes.

In contrast, a publicly subsidized assisted living bed costs 70 per cent of a seniors income.

The report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is the second one in as many days to criticize for-profit and private-pay health care.

Seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie released a report on Tuesday, Feb. 4 which found for-profit long-term care homes arent delivering the level of care their contracted and funded to provide.

In for-profit care homes they are spending $37,000 a year on their residents for care and in the not-for-profit sector theyre spending $46,000 a year. As the seniors advocate this is one of the more troubling findings from this review, she said.

Her report made five recommendations, including requiring health authorities to better monitor care hours, tighten financial oversights and create a more transparent system for how much employees are paid.

More than 27,000 seniors in B.C. live in one of 300 publicly funded long-term care homes that are owned and operated by health authorities, private companies and not-for-profit societies.

There are approximately 31 assisted living facilities across Vancouver Island.

with files from The Canadian Press

On Twitter: @spencer_sterrit

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Advocates concerned about rise of private assisted living beds on Vancouver Island - Nanaimo News NOW

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