Yukon government pledges more home care for rural seniors

'We're working to ensure that home care is provided in the communities, and that we have people trained up in our communities,' said Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost.

Health Minister Pauline Frost says main focus is to avoid sending rural seniors to hospital in Whitehorse

According to the health minister, the government spent $771,000 on home care throughout the territory last year. (CBC)

The Yukon government has pledged to provide more home care in rural communities.

This week in the Legislative Assembly, the official opposition focused heavily on the issue. There have been ongoing concerns about Whitehorse General Hospital housing patients who should instead be in continuing care facilities.

Health and Social Services Minister Pauline Frost says her department will put more resources into home care, thereby enabling seniors to remain in their communities.

She said last year, the government spent $771,000 on home care throughout the territory.

Frost wouldn't say how much will be spent in the next fiscal year, but did commit to providing more in rural Yukon.

"That's part of the expansion. We're working to ensure that home care is provided in the communities, and that we have people trained up in our communities," she said.

Frost also said that as housing minister, she'll focus on housing that is accessible for rural seniors.

"Oftentimes, we find that patients end up in the hospital because they're not able to stay in their home environment."

She said the issue could be addressed with "some minor adjustments, some energy put into retrofitting their homes to allow them to stay."

Frost added that she's directed the Yukon Housing Corporation to also ensure that there is affordable housing for seniors in the communities.

She says the main focus is to prevent rural seniors from being sent to hospital in Whitehorse.

"In rural Yukon, you don't bring the patients to the hospital, they take their patients out of the hospital and take them home. The accommodation has to happen, and that's part of home care."

Meanwhile, Frost committed to opening up four acute care beds in Whitehorse hospital each month.

She said that quota has been met for this month.

But previous reports reveal that those patients were simply moved from Whitehorse to rural hospitals, such as Watson Lake.

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