The Vancouver Island Health Authority will expand a program that provides health services to help keep seniors in their homes as long as possible.
It’s one of three programs that will share VIHA’s $7.9-million portion of funding announced Friday by B.C. Health Minister Margaret MacDiarmid.
The province’s regional health authorities will divide a pot of about $50 million a year over three years, MacDiarmid said. The money will fund primary care and community care initiatives that support seniors with complex care needs, people with chronic health problems, and those with mental health disorders and addictions.
VIHA use the funds to expand two programs in the north and central Island and one in Victoria and Nanaimo.
The south Island will get funding through the Home First program, which started at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria and Nanaimo General Regional Hospital in November 2012.
The program provides health services to seniors at home after they have been discharged from hospital, while they are waiting to move into residential care or during a time of frail health if they wish to die at home. Royal Jubilee currently has 36 people in the program and Nanaimo General has 33.
For those being discharged from hospital, the program provides services that can include anything from bathing and dressing to help taking medication, according to the Health Ministry.
“The idea is to get people out of the hospital as soon as you can and then provide the supports at home,” MacDiarmid said.
The hope is that these people can transfer back to regular home-care programs within 90 days of being discharged.
In the central and north Island, VIHA has created two Assertive Community Action teams — one each in Port Alberni and Campbell River. These began Feb. 1.
The Assertive Community Action program supports people with severe and chronic mental illness by helping them get services they need — from health care to housing — so they avoid ending up in hospital or worse.
There are four Assertive Community Action teams in Victoria and one in Nanaimo.
VIHA is also funding an Intensive Integrated Care Management approach in Nanaimo-Oceanside.
The approach sees the health authority work more closely with doctors in assisting patients who most often use hospital emergency services — those with mental health and addictions and chronic health problems, for example.
This program complements existing fee incentives that allow doctors to take on more patients with high complex needs and offer creative health-care plans for them.
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