HOMEFINDER: Long-term residential care a supportive alternative

Waiting lists for publicly-funded, or partially publicly-funded care facilities can be quite long.

Independence.

Living in our own homes, free to make our own plans for each day — it’s what many people value above virtually anything else in their lives. But the time may come when completely independent living in our own residence is no longer a viable alternative. That’s when the option of an assisted living community or a long-term care facility may become a needed and valuable alternative.

Assisted living is designed for individuals who may require some help with tasks like housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation and reminders to take medication.

Residents of the Saanich Peninsula communities are fortunate to have a wide range of assisted living facilities and in-home assisted living supports available to them. While there may be some delay in accessing a specific facility or service, the waits are generally manageable.

But the time may come when the need arises for a more supportive environment. When complex care needs arise and an individual can no longer manage in their own homes or in an assisted living residence, long-term care may be the best alternative.

Unfortunately, the level of accessibility for these facilities can be significantly more daunting.

Most long-term care facilities, on the Peninsula and elsewhere in B.C., are at least partially funded by the Vancouver Island Health Authority (VIHA) or their local health authority. On the Island, VIHA does the assessment of the needs of potential long term care clients and will then manage placement into an appropriate facility as rooms become available. Unfortunately, as spaces are limited, waiting lists can be long.

“We’ve had family members come to us looking for help,” said Gary Zachary, the administrator at Rest Haven Lodge. “They come in and tell us that their loved one has been on a VIHA waiting list for over two years and they feel a little desperate. Generally, they are hoping that there is something we can do to help. Unfortunately, we can’t.”

Even when a person requiring long term care is placed, there is no guarantee they are able to remain in their own community in a VIHA-funded facility.

“People may be placed in another home somewhere away from the Peninsula, and that can make it a little tougher on the families … and it’s families who are often feeling very stressed about the decision to seek long term care,” Zachary said.

For individuals who can manage without the partial funding of VIHA, however, Sidney offers another option for long-term care.

Sidney All Care Residence is a long term care facility that, while licensed by VIHA, operates without the Authority’s funding. Costs are entirely absorbed by the client. As such, Sidney All Care has total control over their own waiting lists and client placement.

“We’re very excited to say that we’re opening another 19 rooms on our main floor and, in fact, we have beds available right now,” said Terra Munro, the community relations manager for Sidney All Care. “We’re all about providing quality care in the community … whether it’s for long term residence or even for short term respite care while families are off on a vacation or are otherwise in need of a break from caring for an individual in the home.”

Munro said the range of situations that may lead to the need for a long-term care facility is very broad.

“We have people who come here from the hospital to recover from surgery or other medical emergencies and we can provide a high level of care on a shorter term basis … until they are prepared to go back to a less structured environment,” she said. “Others come to us for the long term, and we do everything we can to provide them with a professional, yet loving environment.”

More information on the options for all levels of care, both on the Peninsula and elsewhere can be found at http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/accessing-health-care/home-community-care or by contacting other privately funded care facilities directly.

— by Tim Collins/News contributor