Quality of Care in Seniors' Facilities
Many Rosslanders recall the unfortunate separation of a devoted senior couple so that they could more conveniently (for IHA) be housed in different facilities, in different towns. While separated, one of the couple died. The resulting, and well-justified, outcry may have resulted in changes to the practice of deciding which extended-care patients get housed in what facilities, and whether or not married couples are forcibly separated.
Now the Seniors Advocate is working on a survey of seniors in 303 residential care facilities in BC, housing 27,000 people. Volunteers are asking residents a range of questions about such things as the quality of food, their privacy, respect and responsiveness of staff, safety, medications, and comfort, with the goal of providing a roadmap for improvements to quality of care.
More than 250 volunteeers have already signed up, but there are still many volunteer opportunities available with the project, for individuals with diverse professional backgrounds, ages and ethnicities. The project will be ongoing for four more months.
“We should all get involved and work together to improve the quality and condition of our long-term care facilities,” said volunteer Amanpreet Powar. “Our family members and friends may one day require the support provided in these facilities. The training gave me a new-found awareness of the living conditions in a long-term care facility. I used to think of the facility as a hospital, but now I understand that is also a home for the residents.”
Many of us may possibly need those facilities ourselves in a relatively short time.
Volunteer Kitty Yan reported, “The stories I’m hearing from seniors so far are so interesting. The ability to engage in conversations with residents is like meeting with old friends. The process has been very rewarding.”
It’s also very rewarding for seniors housed in residential facilities; a common emerging theme is the positive impact of having their voices heard. “A resident came to me and explained to me how a person had come and asked her questions for a long time,” said Norma Sorenson, Manager at Mt. Tolmie Care Home. “The resident recounted how they just sat together and the person listened to her and she was just thrilled. As a manager I felt sad that just being listened to was such a novelty for the resident.”
The survey and its methodology were designed through a 14-month consultative process involving facilities, family members of residents, health authorities, community groups, union representatives, and academic experts from across Canada.
Volunteers are screened, and if suitable, take a one-day training session. They are asked for a commitment of at least 30 hours over the survey period.
To apply to be a volunteer, visit www.surveybcseniors.org or call the Office of the Seniors Advocate at 1.877.952.3181.
The Office of the Senors Advocate is an independent office of the provincial government with a legislated mandate to monitor seniors’ services and to issue public reports and recommendations for improvments for system improvments.