83 per cent want long-term care closures put on hold — poll

News release

Public supports study on impact of closures on seniors’ health

More than 83 per cent of British Columbians believe that the B.C. Liberal government should put its plans to close long-term facilities on hold until the impact of this policy on the health of affected seniors is fully studied, according to polling numbers released today by the Hospital Employees’ Union.

Only 13.2 per cent of those surveyed in the McIntyre and Mustel poll supported government moves to close care facilities and continue with plans to provide alternate forms of care.

“These numbers represent a stinging rebuke of the Campbell government’s six-month old scheme to cut costs on the backs of the frail elderly,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “From Revelstoke to Creston to Powell River, the evidence is mounting that seniors and their families are under more pressure — not less — as a result of this government’s so called plan for seniors care.

“Our seniors, who’ve contributed so much to build B.C.’s communities, deserve better from this government,” adds Allnutt.

Overwhelming support for putting care facility closures on hold until the impact on seniors’ health is better understood crosses all income brackets, education levels and regions and includes 69 per cent of B.C. Liberal supporters.

The telephone survey of 500 adult British Columbians was conducted between October 10 and 23 and is considered accurate to within 4.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

In September, HEU released a study that suggested that mortality rates for seniors moved from or between care facilities would be two to four times higher than for those not moved.

The question: The provincial government is closing a number of seniors’ care homes and relocating seniors to different forms of care or other facilities. Based on what you know about these changes, which comes closest to your view?

Total Interviews = 500 Per cent of total interviews The provincial government should put the closure of seniors’ care homes on hold until the impact of closures and relocations on the health and well-being of affected seniors is fully studied. 83.3 per cent The government should continue with its plan to close facilities and provide seniors with new forms of care. 13.2 per cent Don’t know. 3.6 per cent

-30- Complete tabulations are available on request. Contact: Mike Old, communications officer, 604-828-6771 (cell)