Home support services are central to enabling seniors to age in place. These are services provided by community health workers (CHWs) to seniors and those living with disabilities who require assistance with "activities of daily living".
Older adults nearly unanimously wish to live independently at home as long as possible. Yet access to publicly funded home support has consistently declined in BC since 2001.
Without access to these services many seniors experience health decline more rapidly, family caregivers become overextended and costs become prohibitive - pushing seniors to move into Long Term Care earlier than necessary.
- Make home support more accessible by removing the current regulated daily rate co-payment
- Address the staffing crisis by increasing the wages of community health workers so they are paid the same no matter where they work, and create stable working conditions by guaranteeing hours
- Provide comprehensive care by bringing Instrumental Activities of Daily Living back into the home support program
BC is one of the last provinces that still limits access to home support by charging a fee. co-payments represent a significant financial barrier to an essential service. Eliminating co-payments will result in a sharp increase in demand for home support services. Meeting this demand will require public investments but will save taxpayer money overall by reducing the burden on Long Term Care. BC must urgently address the staffing crisis by increasing the wages of community health workers so they are paid the same no matter where they work and create stable working conditions by guaranteeing hours. It is not a coincidence that this workforce is overwhelmingly female, deeply under-compensated and also working precarious positions.
The Seniors Advocate reported in 2019 that Community Health Workers (CHWs) who provide home support services are paid less than care aides with equivalent training who are offering comparable care in other sectors. More than 75% of CHWs are employed in a part-time or casual position. Increasing wages for CHWs to be level with those of care aides working in LTC, as well as guaranteeing hours of work, will stabilize the CHW workforce and support efforts to increase service levels and quality of care.
 Office of the Seniors Advocate BC (2019), Home Support: We can do better. https://www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/app/uploads/sites/4/2019/06/Report-Home-Support-Review_web.pdf
 A. Longhurst (2017), Privatization and Declining Access to BC Seniors’ Care: An Urgent Call for Policy Change, Canadian Poilcy Alternatives—BC Office. https://policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/privatization-declining-access-bc-seniors%E2%80%99-care