Seniors report on care homes

By 1075 Beach Radio News
January 31, 2018 - 1:54pm

KAMLOOPS — BC’s Seniors Advocate says care homes in BC did better with staffing last year compared with 2016, but more work needs to be done.

Isobel Mackenzie’s 2018 Residential Care Facilities Quick Facts Directory shows 15 per cent of facilities meet provincial guidelines of 3.36 hours of direct care per resident per day.

That relates to how the facilities are funded.

“Direct care hours are what is funded by the health authority to the facility. So facilities, particularly our contracted facilities, are not making the decision about how many direct care hours to provide, they are negotiating that with the health authority and they are being funded for a certain number.”

The Hospital Employees Union responded by calling for urgent action by the provincial government to provide adequate funding for staffing.

It says the numbers show that 85 per cent of care facilities do not have enough staff to provide the highest possible standard, leaving seniors and those who provide their care are at risk.

HEU secretary-business manager Jennifer Whiteside says when care aides are literally rushed off their feet there’s not enough time to provide seniors with regular baths or timely toileting, answer call bells, make sure residents are well hydrated, and little or no time to comfort residents who may be distressed, confused, or afraid.

In advance of February’s budget, Whiteside is calling for an immediate investment in the funding needed to bring all facilities up to the current minimum of 3.36 hours per resident per day, along with strict accountability measures to ensure those funds reach the front line and are not diverted to profits or administration.

And she stresses that beyond an immediate injection of funds, staffing levels need to be legislated and enforced.

Isobel Mackenzie’s report It also shows only half of residents have a low sense of social engagement.

” And what remains to be seen is, how much can we move the needle on that number to improve social engagement with our activities versus looking at the conditions that will limit the ability of some people to have good social engagement.”

The report also shows 59 per cent of care home residents are 85 or older.

Half of all residents have mild to moderate cognitive impairment while 30 per cent have severe impairment.

Other highlights of the report:

• Overall, 73% of residents reside in single-occupancy rooms; 87% of rooms in residential care are single-occupancy, 9% are double-occupancy and 4% are multi-bed rooms.

• There are some differences between facilities based on ownership type. Health authority owned and operated facilities, on average, have higher funded direct care hours, higher rates of therapy, fewer single-occupancy rooms, more complex and physically-dependent residents, and fewer reportable incidents and substantiated complaints compared to contracted facilities.

• In 2016/17, there were 4,629 reportable incidents reported to Licensing Officers in B.C. This is slightly higher than in 2015/16 (4,579). However, the rate of reportable incidents decreased from 17.5 incidents per 100 beds in 2015/16 to 17.4 incidents per 100 beds in 2016/17. Overall, the rate of reportable incidents was 24% higher in contracted facilities than in health authority owned and operated facilities.

• Between 2015/16 and 2016/17, substantiated complaints fell by 13%, from 207 to 181. In 2016/17, there were 1.6 substantiated complaints per 1,000 beds involving health authority owned and operated facilities, and 8.9 per 1,000 beds in contracted facilities. The “conversion rate” of complaints to substantiated complaints was 54% higher in contracted compared to health authority owned and operated facilities.

• Across B.C., 24% of residents were diagnosed with depression and 48% of residents were prescribed antidepressant medication, both of which are very similar to previous years. In 2016/17, 25% of residents were prescribed antipsychotic medications without a diagnosis of psychosis, which is a 7% decrease from the previous year.

• Between October 2016 and September 2017, 8% of residents had daily physical restraints—an 11% decrease from the previous year.

• Data on the average funded food costs per resident, per day were collected for the first time in 2016/17. The average funded food cost in B.C. in 2016/17 was $8.00 per resident, per day. However, there was significant variation among facilities ranging from an overall low of $4.92 to a high of $18.44 per resident per day. Overall, 24% of facilities contract out food services, and 91% of facilities have food prepared on site.

The British Columbia Residential Care Quick Facts Directory can be viewed online on the Office of the Seniors Advocate’s website under the “Key Guides” section at 

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