In the News

  • Vancouver Courier: What is your approach to health and life in general? Most of us use the R-and-R approach (and neither R stands for rest or relaxation). The first R is our everyday mode: routine. We settle into our daily patterns of doing and thinking. Most of us wake up at the same time each morning, eat the same breakfast and go to school or work along the same route. During the day, we’ll have our usual type of lunch and follow a well-worn pattern of activity.

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  • iNFOnews.ca: The great purge is upon us once again, the annual influenza season that sickens and kills hundreds of Interior Health Authority residents every winter. Public health officials have long since began preparing for the 2018-2019 flu season, monitoring the latest strains as they spread through the fall and into next winter.

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  • Voiceonline.com: The governments of Canada and British Columbia have signed a bilateral agreement outlining how the Province plans to invest its share of targeted federal funding. The agreement represents a shift in how the federal and provincial governments work together to advance shared health priorities, it was announced on Friday.

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  • Global News: Like many other communities in B.C. and Canada, Kelowna has been struggling with a doctor shortage for some time. Local residents Nancy and Reg Butler can relate. The couple moved to Kelowna from Calgary two years ago and have been without a family physician since.

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  • iNFOnews.ca: There are still more than 2,000 Kamloops residents waiting for a primary care provider, but most people on the wait list for a family doctor have been connected. According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 8,200 people on the Health Link B.C. 811 wait list for Kamloops have been attached to a primary care provider. That's up from roughly 5,000 people at the beginning of the year.

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  • Castanet.net: The opening of the Family Practice Learning Centre in Kamloops will not only give residents better access to health care, but also help UBC med students.

    "This is another step in how we are improving access to primary health care in the Thompson Okanagan region immediately, and over the longer term," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "The Family Practice Learning Centre (FPLC) is a first-of-its kind initiative that pairs people without a primary care provider with University of British Columbia (UBC) family medicine residents to receive ongoing team-based care and treatment.

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  • Coast Reporter: Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is finalizing plans to open 12 short-stay beds at Sechelt Hospital.

    "These beds in the new unit are intended for patients who are waiting to transition to long-term residential care, which will create more capacity for other patients requiring acute episodic care," the health authority said in a written statement to Coast Reporter.

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  • Alaska Highway News: Northern Health plans to build a new doctor's office at the Fort St. John Medical Clinic.

    The health authority has renovations slated for the clinic's mall, formerly home to a pharmacy, hearing centre, and coffee shop, with a request for proposals having closed this week. It's part of ongoing efforts to provide "turnkey" ready space to meet the region's medical demands and staffing needs, and to bring more community health services under one roof, officials say.

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  • Energeticcity.ca: Fort St. John is among twenty communities in B.C. that will be getting funding from the provincial government's new Community Overdose Crisis Innovation Fund.

    On Wednesday, Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy announced the funding, which will support regions where local Community Action Teams have been established.

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  • Kelowna Capital News: A new medical clinic in Kelowna and the expansion of another in Lake Country is allowing residents to sign up for a family doctor.

    Turtle Bay Medical Clinic is expanding in Lake Country, taking over empty space in the Turtle Bay Crossing complex. Once completed, the facility will house nine doctors, operations manager Kiffer Walker said. The current space has room for five.

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  • Voiceonline.ca: Every senior in British Columbia deserves the peace of mind that comes with having safe and affordable housing – yet too many can't find the secure, accessible, affordable homes they need.

    Our government is working with community partners to increase the supply of housing and make sure more seniors have good homes they can afford.

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  • Tri-City News: A planned $27.6-million expansion of the Eagle Ridge Hospital emergency department will go ahead despite the shelving last week of plans for selling two parcels of hospital land.

    Monday, Fraser Health confirmed that construction will begin this year on a project that will more than double the capacity of the emergency department, add new isolation rooms for infection-control measures plus two new trauma resuscitation bays.

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  • e-know.ca: Thanks to a partnership between Golden Life Management, Interior Health, and Columbia Basin Trust expanded housing options for Cranbrook and area seniors is a step closer to reality.

    Construction of the new Kootenay Street Village is well under way with an expected opening in summer 2019.

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  • The Free Press: It's the worst-kept secret in Cranbrook.

    Construction has been underway for a new seniors housing facility on Kootenay Street that will add nearly 100 units and beds, through a partnership between Golden Life Management, Columbia Basin Trust and Interior Health.

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  • Goldstream News Gazette​: On Feb. 28 I attended the third of a series of meetings organized by the South Island Division of Family Practice. Entitled “Primary Health Care in the Western Communities,” this event focused on the lack of doctors in the West Shore and Sooke and was attended by municipal representatives, community partners, doctors and other health-care providers.

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  • Vancouver Sun​: The multi-million dollar redevelopment of the site around the George Pearson Centre at Cambie and 57th Avenue may disrupt the lives of 125 frail seniors in an adult day care program.

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  • InfoTel News​: Residential care for seniors in Kamloops is getting a helping hand with the addition of 48 care beds. These beds are for seniors who require 24-hour care. Sometimes these patients have complex health needs, or dementia. According to a media release, Interior Health issued a request for proposals in September 2016 for design, construction and operation of 243 new residential care beds.

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  • Williams Lake Tribune​: Our government is investing $500 million over the next four years as part of an action plan to improve care for seniors across the province, including increasing direct-care hours for seniors in residential care.

    Read the full op-ed>
  • Williams Lake Tribune​: Interior Health announced Friday it has awarded the contract to develop 70 residential care beds in Williams Lake to inSite Housing, Hospitality Health Services Inc. The new facility will be built at the former Cariboo Lodge site in the 200 block of Fourth Avenue North, a location Mayor Walt Cobb described as ideal.

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  • Cowichan Valley Citizen​: Crissy Brett wants to do her part to draw attention to the homeless problem in the Cowichan Valley, and across BC, as the provincial election approaches. Brett, a member of the Nuxalt First Nation who lives in Crofton, has set up a small tent city on the corner of the Trans Canada Highway and Beverly Street in Duncan. The United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island, in collaboration with Cowichan Housing Association, Our Cowichan, Cowichan Mental Health, Social Planning Cowichan, The Division of Family Practice, and the Substance Use Collective Impact Team hosted a conference on homelessness in Duncan earlier this month.

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  • Times Colonist​: Thank you to Gery Lemon and View Royal Mayor David Screech for their excellent and thought-provoking commentary concerning excessive wait times for diagnostic imaging, specialist services and large numbers of citizens without access to a family physician (“Why the long wait to see a doctor in Victoria?” comment, March 17). As a GP in View Royal for 15 years, and in Langford for six years before that, I am acutely aware of wait lists and family-physician shortages, most notably in the West Shore, one of the fastest-growing regions in BC.

    Read the full op-ed>
  • Salmon Arm Observer​: Interior Health has opened, in Kelowna, what it hopes will be the first of many seniors’ health and wellness centres across the health region. The specialized centre helps seniors with frailty and age-related medical conditions through a multi-disciplinary approach and access to specialist services. “The Ministry of Health asked the Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice and Interior Health to work together toward excellence in seniors’ care in our communities,” said Dr. Gayle Klammer, Central Okanagan Division of Family Practice member, co-chairwoman of the Local Action Team and Implementation Team and a Kelowna GP

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  • Kelowna Now: A new Seniors Health and Wellness Centre has opened up in Kelowna within the Cottonwoods Care Centre. The centre will benefit those with frailty and age-related medical conditions through offering access to specialist services. Particular services include multidisciplinary assessments, short-term therapeutic interventions and access to geriatricians and family doctors with a special interest in geriatrics. The centre will also offer education and connections to other community services that will help seniors access programs promoting health and wellness as well advise on how to live independently for as long as possible.

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  • Times Colonist​: The Victoria Health Co-operative says a family-doctor shortage has left it struggling to pay bills for the clinic, which serves 7,300 patients. The non-profit has operated the Co-op Health Centre at the James Bay Community Project since 2010. It collects 32.5 per cent of doctors’ revenue from the BC Medical Services Plan to cover rent, office staff, electronic medical records and other administrative costs. MSP rates include a portion accountable to overhead costs, which can range from 16 per cent for an extremely efficient practice to 50 per cent. Locums, who fill in for other doctors, expect to contribute 30 to 40 per cent of their billings to overhead, according to Doctors of BC.

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  • Castanet​: It’s an ongoing issue for many small communities in British Columbia, but residents in Osoyoos are voicing frustration about a lack of doctors in town. Of the eight general practitioners in Osoyoos listed by the BC College of Physicians, none are taking new patients.

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  • Vancouver Sun​: The provincial policy of privatizing home and community care services for seniors has resulted in less access for people in need, says a new report released today. Between 2001 and 2016, the closure of 40 care facilities operated by either health authorities or non-profit organizations has resulted in a drop in residential care beds of 11 per cent. During the same period, the for-profit sector increased 42 per cent, according to the report.

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  • Vancouver Sun​: Vancouver billionaire Jimmy Pattison has made what’s being described as the largest donation in Canadian history to a medical facility by an individual. The donation will support the redevelopment of St. Paul’s Hospital on its new site in False Creek flats. The money will go towards what will be called the Jim Pattison Medical Centre, a medical and research centre. The new hospital – which has been estimated to cost at least $1.2 billion – is expected to be completed in about seven years. But construction has not yet begun as zoning and planning continues.

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  • The Globe and Mail: A new report suggests three out of four Canadians are getting treated within recommended time frames when it comes to certain priority procedures. However, the numbers also show regional differences, indicating that not all Canadians are getting equal access to these procedures. The report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) looked at whether patients were receiving treatment within a time frame deemed medically acceptable for procedures including hip replacement, hip-fracture repair, knee replacement, cataract surgery and radiation therapy. It also tabulated wait times for cancer surgeries, MRI and CT scans.

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  • Times Colonist​: Access to quality care for seniors in residential and supported living facilities has continued to decline to critical levels, according to a report released Monday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Between 2001 and 2016, access to residential care declined by 32 per cent when measuring beds relative to the population of people 75 and over, said the report. Island Health saw a decline of 25 per cent. In 2001, there were 5,083 publicly funded beds for seniors on the Island. In 2016, that had increased to 5,175, but the population of people age 75 or older in BC increased by 49 per cent.

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  • Castanet​: The South Okanagan General Hospital’s former chief of staff says he feels he had “no real options” but to resign in protest of a potential six-bed loss at the hospital. Dr. Peter Entwistle recently stepped down from his position as chief of staff at SOGH, citing six beds he says are slated for removal from the hospital, but Interior Health senior staff say that decision hasn’t been made yet. The hospital has 18 beds for acute care, with an extra six beds that are often used for emergencies, but the fate of those beds is currently unknown. Entwistle, who had held the position since 2009, said the hospital has been feeling pressure to drop those six beds.

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  • Williams Lake Tribune​: Our government is proudly supporting plans to redevelop Cariboo Memorial Hospital, and we have committed to reviewing the concept provided by Interior Health, which represents the next step in making this project a reality.

    Read the full op-ed>
  • Richmond News​: There will be more opportunities for Richmond seniors living at home to mingle with one another, thanks to the creation of 25 new adult daycare spaces at Austin Harris Residence. Richmond-Steveston MLA John Yap announced the new spaces, to be funded from a $500 million boost to seniors care in BC — money sorely needed, according to healthcare workers, who have described such care, or lack thereof, to be at a “crisis” level.

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  • Chilliwack Progress​: Call your family doctor first. That's the first line of attack in a new health education campaign urging everyone to 'Use Your ER Wisely.' “Educating patients about where to go to receive timely and available medical attention not only gives them a better understanding of our health care system, but also helps them feel engaged in their own care," said Dr. Ralph Jones, physician lead, Chilliwack Division of Family Practice. “This leads to patients making healthy and informed choices that improve their overall experience.” 'Use Your ER Wisely' is being rolled out by Chilliwack Division of Family Practice and Fraser Health in partnership with Chilliwack Healthier Community.

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  • Castanet: A doctor who made waves in the South Okanagan medical community is stepping into the political arena. Dr. Peter Entwistle stepped down earlier this week as the South Okanagan General Hospital’s chief of staff, citing concerns over the number of beds in the hospital. Now he’s running as an independent candidate for the Boundary-Similkameen riding.

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  • Times Colonist​: Sooke is facing a health-care crisis, says Mayor Maja Tait. She wants the Capital Regional District to explore the possibility of a pilot project to establish a regional health facility in the community. Sooke is only 30 kilometres from Victoria General Hospital but the combination of a challenging highway and limited public transit can make the trip a daunting prospect for people in pain, Tait said.

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  • Castanet​: The BC Nurses Union is weighing in on the turmoil taking place at the South Okanagan General Hospital in Oliver. Earlier this week, chief of staff Dr. Peter Entwistle announced his resignation in protest of a possible loss of six unfunded beds at the hospital. The beds are currently used as a sort of overflow for the other 18 fully funded beds at the facility. Interior Health denies that any decision has been made.

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  • Cowichan Valley Citizen​: Cowichan Valley provincial independent candidate Ian Morrison and his family became responsible for caring for his mother, who had Alzheimer’s, prior to her death. “Mom certainly wasn’t rich, yet did have enough to afford quality care, with dignity and respect,” Morrison said. “I worry about our elderly residents that don’t have money. Even those fortunate enough to have savings are asking themselves ‘How much is enough?’” Seniors are the fastest growing group in the Cowichan Valley. Morrison wonders if services meet the needs of seniors today, and will they meet future demands as the elderly population grows?

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  • Osoyoos Times​: She wouldn’t call it a panic situation, but there are deep concerns about healthcare services in Osoyoos and Oliver, says a well-known Osoyoos community activist who has started a petition to address those concerns. Brenda Dorosz, who formed the Save Our School committee last year in an effort to keep Osoyoos Secondary School (OSS) from closing and then ran unsuccessfully to win the NDP nomination for Boundary-Similkameen in the upcoming May provincial election, says there’s been very strong community reaction to her petition since she started circulating it last Sunday.

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  • Global News BC​: A grassroots movement is swelling in the south Okanagan to address the chronic shortage of general practitioners. Breast cancer survivor Yvonne Lewis, who recently moved to Osoyoos, said the doctor shortage in the south Okanagan is a hard pill to swallow.

    Read and watch the full story>
  • Saanich News​: At 97, Murray Edwards is a shining example of why the Veterans Memorial Lodge at Broadmead is important. Edwards uses his left foot to propel his wheelchair along the hallway of the lodge to the library at a rapid clip. “I never thought I’d be here, but now that I am, I’m very thankful for it,” Edwards said. “I give to [Broadmead] still.” A lifelong Canadian Forces instructor and veteran, Edwards began visiting friends at Broadmead in 2002. Soon after his first visits, Edwards and his wife made the decision to donate to the annual campaigns held at Broadmead, which continues to be the primary service provider for residential care and day programs for veterans on the Island, offering subsidized accommodations.

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  • My Prince George Now: Representatives from walk-in clinics around the province are meeting at a conference this week to discuss BC’s “primary care crisis.” The University of British Columbia’s Centre for Health Services and Policy Research (CHSPR) calculates there are currently 300,000 British Columbians seeking a family doctor, 10,000 of whom live in Prince George. Many have to rely on emergency rooms and walk-in clinics for medical service, says Founding Director of the Walk-in Clinics of BC Association Mike McLoughlin.

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  • Kamloops This Week​: Health Minister Terry Lake has committed another $90 million in the next three years to expand team-based primary health care throughout the province. The financial announcement was made Monday as Lake attended the opening of a new primary care and seniors health centre at Northills Centre on the North Shore.

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  • Nanaimo News Now​: After watching their spouses wither in a residential care home in Nanaimo, two local seniors are speaking out about their concerns. Geir Larsen's wife Jeannie was admitted to Dufferin Place, run by Island Health, in October 2014 and she passed away in care on July 28, 2016. Larsen said he expected his wife's final years to be as peaceful as possible after years of home care, a place where “it's taken care of, you're shown respect, you're maintained, kept clean, fed. All those things you'd think would be normal, but I slowly started to find out that was not the case.”

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  • The Globe and Mail​: Opponents of a proposed residential-care facility to be run by a for-profit operator on the Sunshine Coast are gearing up for a public meeting on April 30, saying they aren’t convinced the project is the best way to provide more seniors’ care in their region.

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  • Castanet​: The province is teetering on the edge of a crisis as the ongoing physician shortage worsens. BC doctors are sounding the alarm, saying walk-in clinics are closing because of it. The Walk-In Clinics of BC Association is launching a petition on Friday to ask the province to train, recruit and fairly compensate more family doctors. It’s also calling on the government to eliminate red tape that prevents GP’s from seeing patients in a timely fashion.

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  • Kelowna Capital News​: Vernon is being highlighted in a province-wide demand for more family doctors, using the recent closures of walk-in clinics. The city’s original walk-in clinic, Gartree Medical Clinic in the Vernon Square Mall, closed its doors March 24. That follows the March 2016 closure of the Vernon Family Doctors Medical Clinic in the Fruit Union Plaza. While the Sterling Centre Clinic on 25th Avenue opened in 2016, it is only open in the evenings, leaving the North Okanagan Medical Clinic at the Real Canadian Superstore as the only daytime clinic. But Vernon’s troubles are not unique, it is a province-wide trend.

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  • Surrey Now​: A new petition is calling on the province to recruit more doctors into walk-in clinics and reverse the shortage that’s left thousands of British Columbians without access to a family doctor. The petition, posted on change.org and on the Walk-In Clinics of BC Association website, has aimed for 300,000 signatures – the estimated number of BC residents who don’t have a family doctor, said Mike McLoughlin, the association's director. Since 2010, he said 45 clinics have closed across BC.

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  • CBC News​: With the provincial election little more than a month away, the Walk-in Clinics of BC Association has started a petition calling on the government to make recruiting family doctors a priority. Mike McLoughlin, founding director of the association, is hoping to make the lack of primary care options an election issue. He told CBC's host of The Early Edition Rick Cluff that although there are more doctors registered in BC than ever before, the supply is not keeping up with demand.

    Read/listen to the full story>
  • Langley Advance​: “As of today, there is no doctor taking new patients in Langley,” said Ellen Peterson, executive director of the Langley Division of Family Practice. Peterson’s department oversaw the two-year A GP for Me campaign, which aimed to connect more people with family doctors in Langley. They successfully “attached” 8,340 people to local doctors. But retaining and recruiting new doctors remains extremely difficult. “What we need is more capacity in primary care,” said Peterson.

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  • CBC News​: Rushed decisions by government and flawed investigations led to harmful consequences for eight Ministry of Health workers who were wrongly dismissed in 2012, a report demanding sweeping changes revealed today. BC Ombudsperson Jay Chalke came to those conclusions after an 18-month investigation into the firings. Chalke is calling on the government to apologize to the workers who "did not deserve the significant personal, financial and professional harm they suffered."

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  • Times Colonist​: BC has 1,000 more doctors doing general-practice work than there were 10 years ago, according to the most recent count from the Health Ministry. And the share of the population that is “attached” to a family doctor, a critical measure of how their primary care is being addressed, has declined only marginally over the past four years, according to the most recent estimate. So why is the doctor shortage such a chronic problem in health care, to the point that it might become one of the election-campaign issues in the weeks ahead?

    Read the full op ed>
  • Ashcroft Cache Creek Journal​: On March 9, the provincial government announced that it plans to invest $500 million in seniors’ care over the next four years; a move that was applauded by such bodies as the Office of the Seniors Advocate, the Hospital Employees Union (HEU), and the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA).

    Read the full story>
  • Canadian Healthcare Network​: Over 80 doctors in the Comox Valley have signed a letter to the local health authority asking that it not expand the hospice program at St. Joseph’s hospital because the institution does not offer medical aid in dying (MAID).

    Read the full story (Free membership required)>
  • Canadian Healthcare Network​: Despite decades of government dollars directed to efforts such as A GP For Me—a Doctors of BC and provincial partnership—approximately 15% of British Columbians are still lacking a family physician. The solution? A greater role for nurse practitioners, according to their provincial association.

    Read the full story (Free membership required)>
  • Vancouver Sun​: If your only tool is regulation, everyone appears under-regulated; at least that’s the impression one would gain from reading Dr. Ailve McNestry’s opinion in The Vancouver Sun on Feb. 22. McNestry, a deputy registrar and spokeswoman for the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC, described a BC man with a complex history of chronic pain and mental-health disorders as a doctor-shopping abuser of painkillers and other addictive drugs.

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  • Nanaimo News Now​: Seniors in BC residential care homes aren't getting the attention they deserve, according to a new report. British Columbia's seniors advocate recently released their 2017 directory of facilities, which showed only nine per cent of care homes in the province reach 3.36 hours of daily care per patient. The number is a provincial guideline, though it's not legislatively required.

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  • The Globe and Mail​: For the past two years, Rosemary Dunne has been a primary caregiver for her 82-year-old mother, who has advancing dementia, and it hasn’t been easy. In many ways, her life revolves around her mother: finding time to visit; sending detailed e-mails about her health to family members around the world; documenting her medical history so meticulously that she now has binders full of information. She’s now drawing on that experience as she works with a team in Vancouver developing a mobile app that could offer some relief. CareCrew, which recently won a competition staged by Fraser Health, provides a platform for family members and home-care workers to stay connected when looking after their aging loved ones.

    Read the full article
  • Times Colonist​: Care homes in BC are giving antipsychotic medications to too many seniors who haven't been diagnosed with psychosis, and that may be responsible for aggression and injuries among the elderly, according to the province's seniors advocate. In facilities across the province, an average of 27 per cent of residents are taking antipsychotics without a matching psychiatric diagnosis, according to the newly updated Residential Care Facilities Quick Facts Directory.

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