An important part of our work is to improve the quality of life for seniors and help them stay home and healthy as long as possible and avoid residential care and unnecessary hospitalization.
This year marks the beginning of Fraser Health’s renewed focus on seniors’ care. In partnership with family doctors and community organizations, we will provide more services in the community to help seniors avoid or delay the onset of frailty, admission to residential care and visits to the Emergency room.
Our health authority has the largest number of seniors in the province and there is enormous diversity amongst them. One thing we know for sure, though: Seniors want to access services in their communities so they can remain independent as long as possible. However, Fraser Health can deliver only a portion of the services they need – to do it right, we must collaborate with other service organizations, and with seniors themselves.
That’s what we’re planning in Abbotsford, Langley and Mission – we’re partnering with family doctors and other not-for-profit services to deliver seamless care and services to better support seniors. This work, initiated by the Ministry of Health, is letting us re-imagine how care should be delivered to seniors for maximum effectiveness.
A common feature of these models is a plan to proactively identify seniors at risk of decline so they can be helped to access the services they need to avoid admittance to residential care or a trip to Emergency.
You’ll be hearing more details as implementation begins. There’s no map for this work and it will necessarily feature a lot of trial and error. But with seniors at the table I know we will come up with the best alternatives.
At the same time, we are also expanding an initiative that fast tracks at-risk seniors assessed at the residential care level who could be discharged home if well supported with medical and non-medical services. As well, we are also expanding a project that successfully demonstrated that pre-frail seniors could avoid or delay frailty by being coached to become physically active and socially and intellectually engaged. Frailty can easily lead to illnesses that require hospitalization.
Through our growing number of partnerships with municipal councils, non-profit organizations and family doctors we can promote activities that support healthy living for seniors.
Our revamped approach to seniors care reflects our BC health care system’s gradual shift away from a focus on treating illness to a focus on supporting wellness and prevention. Re-focusing many of our resources on seniors care in the community will allow seniors to have more productive lives and have a higher quality of life – something we should all care about.