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B.C. provides funding to enhance infection prevention, control in care homes

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:44 PDT, Mon June 13, 2022

EquipCare BC will again accept applications to enhance infection prevention and control, and improve seniors' safety and quality of life in long-term care and assisted living homes throughout the province.

"Our seniors and Elders have and continue to face incredible challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic," said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. "Enhancing infection prevention and control in long-term care and assisted living homes is a vital piece of keeping seniors and staff safe, from COVID-19 and other infections, and ensuring seniors experience the best quality of life possible."

The province is providing $8 million through the BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) for EquipCare BC to continue supporting publicly funded seniors long-term care homes and assisted living residences. The funding will help purchase items to enhance infection prevention and control and improve safety and quality of life. 

This may include additional outbreak carts, medical screening devices, mobile hand-hygiene sinks, touchless towel and soap dispensers, environmental cleaning products, safe-handling equipment for food, waste, and laundry, lifts, beds, urgent-response systems, sensory equipment, lighting and visual aids, music therapy, and ergonomic furniture.

"The EquipCare BC program has helped to protect seniors and Elders across the province during the COVID-19 pandemic," said Mable Elmore, Parliamentary Secretary for Seniors Services and Long-Term Care. "We are committed to providing seniors long-term care homes and assisted living residences with tools to keep their residents and staff safe."

In 2020, the province invested $10 million to launch EquipCare BC, in partnership with the BCCPA. Through EquipCare BC, 97 per cent of eligible publicly funded long-term care homes and 98 per cent of eligible assisted living residences applied for grants to enhance infection prevention and control measures and to improve safety and quality of life for seniors. Through this funding, EquipCare BC approved 728 grant applications.

"With the new EquipCare BC funding now available, all eligible long-term care and assisted living providers can expect to receive funding within weeks of a completed application," said Terry Lake, chief executive officer, BCCPA. "This efficiently run program has had a direct benefit in improving workplace safety and quality of life for seniors in care and the staff that supports them."

Oversight for EquipCare BC is provided by a group of industry stakeholders and government, including representatives from BCCPA, SafeCare BC, Denominational Health Association, and the Ministry of Health. Expert advice in infection prevention and control is also provided by ministry staff.

For information about EquipCare BC and to learn more about the BC Care Providers Association, visit: www.bccare.ca

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