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Private care not ‘inferior’



In response to Gayle Duteil, president of the BC Nurses’ Union (“Ownership matters,” Letters, May 12), BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) would like to set the record straight on information circulated by organizations that we think are causing fear and uncertainty within the Sunshine Coast community.

Firstly, we refute that private care is “inferior.” Studies cited by BCNU and other groups rely largely on evidence from outside B.C. or even Canada to argue their case. Currently there is no specific B.C. data or studies which clearly highlight that private care homes provide inferior quality of care.

In fact, a recent report from Alberta which highlights results of a 2014-15 Long Term Care Family Experience Survey largely debunks this notion, indicating that, in general, no one model type (government, private or non-profit) was better or worse than the others across all key measures of family experience measured.

BCCPA has long supported the call for increased funding to meet a minimum standard of 3.36 direct care hours per day for all residential care providers. Recently, the B.C. government answered that call with $500 million in new investments.

What critics neglect to point out is that the level of care, whether in government or non-government care homes, is determined by the health authorities. B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie confirmed this last year when she said, “it’s the health authority [that] has decided this is what they’re going to be funded to provide.”

When Ms. Duteil contrasts the level of physical and occupational therapy provided between public and private care homes, she omits that the latter are not funded to provide the same level of services.

Today in B.C., about 70 per cent of long-term residential care for seniors is delivered by non-government care providers. Removing these private providers out of our mix of care options is not only impractical, it could severely limit the availability of quality seniors care. With our aging population, we will need to make more affordable seniors care available, not less.

Sunshine Coast seniors and their families must be confident that any new care provider in their community will deliver ample, high quality care. This is what our member Trellis Seniors Services has committed to provide.

What should matter above all are excellent health outcomes, not ownership.

Mike Klassen, VP, Communications & Stakeholder Relations, BCCPA