LETTER: Regarding Hilltop House and waiting seniors

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to the story, “Squamish hospital and nursing home not keeping pace with population, say 22 seniors,” in The Chief on April 25.

I recognize our response to recent stories about the capacity of Hilltop House did not meet community expectations or address fundamental issues and for that, I apologize.

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In terms of seniors care, work is underway across Vancouver Coast Health to assess future needs for long term care beds across VCH and specifically in Sea to Sky. This assessment, when complete, will allow us to plan for needed beds between 2020 to 2040.

We recognize Hilltop House is facing higher demand for placements. Our priority is to ensure seniors needing long term care are safe and receiving the support they need.

VCH provides home support to help our seniors live in their homes for as long as possible. When it is no longer safe for them to live at home, we offer them a bed at a long term care facility with an available bed as close to home as possible. If that bed is on the North Shore, they are offered the opportunity to transfer to Hilltop House through an established prioritization process.

We know the preference of many of our seniors needing care is to stay in Sea to Sky and we are confident the assessment work currently underway will allow us to better plan for and meet expectations in the future. And we look forward to sharing more information when the needs assessment work is complete and we are moving towards this goal.

Karin Olson,

CEO, coastal community of care,

Vancouver Coastal Health

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