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Seniors in British Columbia will have more long-term care options and choices starting this month.

Health Minister Adrian Dix says beginning July 15, seniors requiring long-term care no longer have to accept the first available bed and can instead choose from three preferred options while waiting in their own homes for the right placement.

Mr. Dix says people want to be able to choose a long-term care home that works for them and their families.

He says the changes will ensure that people who have been on a waitlist the longest get the highest priority in care-home placements.

Mr. Dix says they will also ensure seniors are providing their consent to live at a long-term care home, addressing access recommendations made by seniors advocate Isobel Mackenzie in a 2015 housing report.

Ms. Mackenzie said offering seniors more choice and options to long-term care helps them and their families.

The BC Care Providers Association says in a statement the changes also ensure a senior who accepts an interim care-home placement will not lose their space on a waitlist for their preferred home.

“This will make it more likely they will be admitted to the care home of their choosing and the wait for admission will be shorter,” Mr. Dix said at a news conference on Wednesday. “The revisions of the long-term care access policy will ensure that people receive detailed information about long-term care homes, including the average wait times to help people choose their preferred care home.”

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