The OPCM Project Team

The 2022/23 Office of the Senior’s Advocate Long-Term Care Survey project was supported by a team from the British Columbia Office of Patient-Centred Measurement. 

Thank you for working with us!

That’s a Wrap! of the 2022/23 OSA Every Voice Counts LTC Resident & Visitor Survey!

Implementing this survey was an incredible undertaking and would not have been possible without each and every one of our amazing volunteers who collectively contributed more than 20,000+ hours of their time. Surveyors conducted in-person interviews in the field from August 2022-2023 and gave a voice to more than 29,000 residents living in nearly 300 publicly-funded long-term Care Homes across the province.
Surveyors asked residents about their experience and their satisfaction with the quality of care and services they receive related to topics such as food, safety, homelike environment, respect from, responsiveness of and communication with staff, personal relationships, activities, impact of the pandemic on visitation and cultural safety. During the, on average, 1 hour interview, residents were invited to elaborate on their responses by adding any comments or stories they would like to share.
We want to give a very special shout-out to the:
139 ‘Parachute Surveyors’ who travelled extensively outside of their primary region to conduct surveys in another community,
48 Bilingual Surveyors conducted interviews with residents in one of 9 languages; Cantonese, Mandarin, Farsi, Punjabi, Italian, German, Polish, Korean, and English,
The 150+ Volunteer Surveyors who completed their 40 hour volunteer commitment,
The 35 Volunteer Surveyors who contributed 80 hours and doubled their 40 hour commitment,
The 13 Volunteer Surveyors who tripled their commitment and surveyed for over 120+ hours and,
The 10 Volunteer Surveyors who gave over 200+ hours of their time
We would like to recognize the people who helped us succeed:

A big thank you to the OSA Long-Term Care Survey Consultation Group comprised of representatives from long-term care homes, non-profit organizations, health care unions, Ministry of Health, health authority and OSA staff, R.A. Malatest & Associates, and resident and family councils.

We are thankful for the support we received from Providence Health Care’s Volunteer Resources team and the IPAC (Infection Prevention and Controls) team.

We are grateful too, for the care home leaders, operators, site champions and staff of each long-term care home who were vital in helping the surveying take place on the ground and assisting the volunteers, residents, and the project team.

On behalf of our entire project team, Thank you for your incredible contributions in ensuring every voice is heard.

Interested in volunteering to visit with seniors living in long-term care?  Inquire directly with care homes in your local community.

Learn More:

View the video about our volunteers and their experiences

Read the full report for the 2022/23 Every Voice Counts: Long-Term Care Resident and Visitor Survey

View the Office of the Senior’s Advocate Long-Term Care Survey Release Event

What the Surveyor Experience Has Meant to Our Volunteers

Over 500 Surveyors have invested over 20,000 hours interviewing residents throughout British Columbia about their experiences living in care. In true patient-centred measurement fashion, we thought it might be time to ask the volunteers about their experiences as Volunteer Surveyors with the BC Office of the Seniors Advocate’s Every Voice Counts: Long-Term Care Resident Survey.

Here are some of the comments that volunteers shared with us:
Was your role as a Volunteer Surveyor for this project what you expected it would be?

“… I would like to share my appreciation to the project team for a tremendously well-organized Interview process, training, and volunteer support. I have worked and volunteered with many organizations and your approach is by far one of the best.”

“It was emotional but rewarding, especially as many of the residents thanked me for spending time with them. It is apparent that our LTC residents, or at least many of them, are lonely and that was a hard lesson to learn.”

“I felt valued and welcomed and I enjoyed the experience.”

“Apart from my “expected role” as a Volunteer Surveyor, I experienced so much “empathy” and admiration for the strength and resilience shown by the residents, having shared with me their background left their “familiar surroundings, precious “home”, without their loved ones and into a new and unfamiliar surroundings. They were inspirations for me to continue the commitment I made to do the best with the goal of making positive changes needed so they all can continue to have a “quality of life.”

“It was an opportunity to share time with and give voice to elders in my community.”

“I knew before starting that I would meet many amazing people during the survey process. My expectations were surpassed – it was a privilege to spend time with so many wonderful people.”

“It was a positive experience. I certainly valued the freedom we were given to “simply visit with the residents if they were interested. I found this to be the most rewarding for me and hopefully for them. For each person I approached about participating in an interview, I also offered an opportunity to visit if they were not interested in the interview. I found the majority of residents appreciated the opportunity for human contact regardless of whether they participated in the interview or not. I loved from the residents and enjoyed these visits tremendously!”

What did you enjoy the most about being a Volunteer Surveyor?

“I truly enjoyed engaging with the participants in the survey. They touched my heart. If I did nothing else, I know I brought some joy into their day.”

“Giving people the opportunity to have their voice heard by participating in the survey was the most enjoyable aspect.”

“Interacting with each individual resident on a personal level. They all have such unique personalities and life experiences that factored into the interaction.”

“I really enjoyed getting to spend time with the residents, all were so pleased to be part of a survey about their care. I was happy to be part of giving them all a voice”

“I enjoyed meeting the other surveyors and being able to share our experiences together.”

“Listening to peoples stories. Fascinating!!!! I learned so much.”

“Being able to connect with residents. Some residents felt like they were participating in something worthwhile. Some residents were happy to have someone spend some one-on-one time with them.”

“I enjoyed seeing for myself the difference that caring helpers make for people who need it – it restores my faith in how good people can be.”

“Meeting with the residents! Definitely. What a joy to meet such great personalities. They are not on T.V. but boy! With a lifetime of carving and experience and molding and fashioning from life. They were each a unique design. And a sheer pleasure to interact with. So real, so honest, so truthful.”

“…how wonderful it was to see the resident’s critical thinking skills fire up when I was asking them questions and interviewing them.  It was truly fascinating to see that positive and exiting change in them.  You could see the wheels turning, it was really cool.”

 What did being a part of this project mean to you?

“Wow wee! Amazing we completed this monumental project.  It sure was fun talking to all the sweet, interesting and unique people living in long-term care homes.  It was a beautiful and profound experience, and I loved going to those care homes to visit with the residents, interview them and make them feel good.  It was lots of fun, and quite sad too, but it was one of the most real, truthful and genuine nine months of my life.  I’ll never forget this.”

“It has been an honour and pleasure to meet all the people I have surveyed.  There have been so many interesting and funny and varied stories and we have even shed a few tears together.  I wish we could publish some of these stories.  Our elders are so soon forgotten, especially when they are locked behind doors, both literally and figuratively.”

“I am very grateful to have been part of this important project.  I loved being with the residents, and it made me very happy to bring some joy and fun and kindness into their lives, and let them know how very special they are and that their voices are valued.  I loved every day I volunteered, and all the wonderful people I met.”

“I have really enjoyed my volunteer time – far more that I had expected.   Although I have finished my 40 hour commitment, I intend to continue volunteering until the project comes to an end.”

“I have truly enjoyed every single heart felt interaction with all the residents I have met. It is amazing to me that I am afforded this gift to chat with people that have lived the most lovely lives. I have a whole new appreciation of the lived experience.”

“I keep all these residents (seen and unseen) in my heart at the end of every day and for the rest of my life it seems. They are all so sweet.”

“ It gave me a unique, rich opportunity to expand my life and a great connection to a community in my own neighbourhood.”

“My time on the project has come to an end. It’s great that is finished, and hopefully, some good comes from all the work that went into the survey. Spending so much time with the residents has certainly shown that improvements need to be made. The final months, weeks, days, and hours of senior residents in these facilities needs to be improved and I hope that I have helped to make some of it possible.”

Learn More:

To hear more volunteer experiences please watch the Every Voice Counts: Long-Term Care Survey Volunteers Talk About Their Experience Video.

Every Voice Counts – Thank You to Our Volunteer Surveyors!

B.C.’s Seniors Advocate releases results of 2022-2023 province-wide long-term care survey.

Long-term care residents survey reveals gaps in service, high marks for skill, compassion of staff

BURNABY – BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie has released results from the second provincewide survey of thousands of long-term care residents and their family members.

“In the past six years, funding for long-term care in B.C. has increased more than 45% and staffing has increased more than 10%, but despite these significant investments, we have not seen the amount of progress we hoped for in elevating the quality of life for people who call long-term care home,” stated Mackenzie. “To what degree the pandemic hindered our progress is difficult to quantify but it is reasonable to assume it had an impact.”

The survey covered 297 publicly subsidized care facilities in B.C. and received responses from over 10,000 residents and almost 8,000 family members and close friends. Just over 500 British Columbians volunteered to assist residents to complete the survey. The questions and design parallel the 2016/17 survey allowing reliable comparison to previous results.

Increasing care hours is one of the report’s recommendations. “While B.C. was at one time a leader in the amount of direct care hours residents received with 3.36 hours of care per person per day, we must recognize that changes in room configuration, resident population and expectations have expanded the care needed. National standards now recommend 4.1 hours of care per person per day as the minimum. While this 22% increase may seem daunting, we have achieved as much in the past and we can do so again,” stated Mackenzie.

The survey results show there has been little improvement in areas such as frequency of bathing, help at mealtimes, meaningful activities, engagement with staff and other residents and the overall ratings of quality remain relatively unchanged. Despite these shortcomings, residents continue to give high marks to long-term care home staff for their skill, compassion and ability to treat residents with respect.

The report also recommends improving the home support system in B.C. to allow more seniors to delay their move to long term care. “We have 40% of residents who do not want to live in their care home and assessment data tell us that some of these people could continue to live at home with supports. We must ensure all options are exhausted before a person is required to move into long-term care – this will require changes to our home support program including the removal of financial barriers,” continued Mackenzie.

“While this report has not provided us with evidence of the improvements we had hoped to see, it is important to recognize long-term care is working well for some people and the goal is to raise the quality of life for all residents. The support for seniors remains strong and we need to look no further than the hundreds of British Columbians who stepped up to volunteer almost 20,000 hours of their time. This alone gives me hope for the future,” concluded Mackenzie.

Highlights from the survey include:
• 54% rated the overall quality of the care and services received in the home as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’

• Almost 80% of residents felt they could express their opinions ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’

• 81% of residents decide how to spend their time

• 85% of residents felt their privacy was respected during care ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’.

• 95% of residents reported they have never been treated unfairly by staff due to their race or cultural background, and 97% reported they have never been treated unfairly due to their sexual orientation.

• 88% of residents feel safe when they are alone ‘almost’ or ‘most of the time’.

• 87% of residents reported they trust staff to take good care of them and staff treat them like a whole person ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’.

• 48% of residents feel their care home ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ feels like home.

• 51% of residents said staff only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ make time for a friendly conversation or ask how to meet their needs.

•50% of residents reported they ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ had the same care aide most weekdays.

•33% of residents report that they only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get help to eat when needed.

•One-third of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get to decide when to get up.

•29% of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get help right away if needed although 79%
report they could get the services they need ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’.

•Almost two-thirds of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ find enjoyable things to do on evenings and weekends, or find opportunities to explore new skills or interests.

The report includes the following 8 recommendations:

1.   Increase staffing levels in all care facilities to the nationally recommended 4.1 hours of direct care
per resident per day.

2.   Increase flexibility of scheduling.

3.    Increase social connections for residents by creating more meaningful activities to improve resident engagement.

4.    Improve food and mealtime experience to meet residents’ preferences, including nutritional and
culturally-specific dietary needs.

5.    Implement compulsory professional education for all care home staff in cultural safety and emotional health and well-being of residents.

6.   Allow all residents (or substitute decision maker, if appropriate) to name their “essential visitor”.

7.   Work closely with the Independent Long-Term Care Councils Association of BC to raise awareness
and increase the function of resident and family councils at all long-term care facilities in B.C..

8.   Improve community-based services, in particular home support, to ensure seniors are not required to seek long-term care unless their care needs cannot be met in the community.

Learn More:
‘Every Voice Counts-Long-Term Care Resident and Visitor Survey Results–2023’ News Report
Read Full Report (Provincial Results)  
View Every Voice Counts Public Release PowerPoint Presentation
View video about our volunteers

Survey Results
Provincial Survey Results
Health Authority Survey Results
Find Facility Results through our LTC/AL Quick Facts Directory – coming soon!

Reflecting Forward

It has been said that, “We do not learn from experience; we learn from reflecting on experience.” Even as we stride ahead towards our goal of approaching every resident in long-term care in BC, we continue to reflect on the mosaic of experiences that we are accumulating – experiences of residents, surveyors, project team members, and care home staff.

Robert W., a volunteer surveyor in Vancouver Coastal region, has taken the time to reflect on his experiences with residents… and to share those reflections:

“As an aging senior myself, I have a keen interest in issues related to aging adults. Over these past several weeks I have enjoyed my many encounters with the residents. I look forward each day to meeting and conversing with each unique and interesting person. I always come away from our encounters having learned something about their experiences, both before coming into care as well as in their current circumstances.

When I first joined the project, I was surprised to learn what it is like to work in today’s digital world where the trainers and coordinators are scattered throughout the province. There were also adjustments as I became acclimatized to the environment of the care home itself. Once I became more comfortable, I found all the staff were most welcoming and very helpful in making connections with the residents. I received great feedback from [residents] about the value of the project – and even how people appreciated the opportunity to talk with someone new.

From my experiences I would say to fellow and future volunteers that the sooner you establish relationships with the people who are directly involved with the residents, the smoother your path to the residents will be. Creating mutual trust facilitates connections.

The most important thing to remember about being with the residents is the need to listen with patience. This is a fundamental quality in any encounter with a resident.

My hope for this project is that all the concerns that were expressed by residents in our surveys will result in appropriate policy changes that will impact those both in existing residences and in the planning and realization of future programs for seniors in care.”

In reflecting on the incredible value of truly listening to each resident’s experience, we are inspired to forge ahead! Since September 2022, OSA Surveyors have been engaging with residents in 279 out of 297 care homes in BC. We look forward to continuing to listen to the experiences of residents in the remaining care homes from which we can all reflect and learn.

B.C. Seniors’ Week 2023: Giving a Voice to the Vulnerable

“To care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honours”
~ Tia Walker

Since 1986, Seniors Week has been recognized each June to celebrate the contributions seniors make to enhance the quality of life in British Columbia.  Central to BC Seniors Week is recognizing seniors’ contribution to society and ensuring their voices are heard.

Over the past 9 months, volunteer OSA Surveyors, many who are seniors themselves have collectively approached nearly 23,000 residents living in long-term care, to listen to residents’ experiences and to amplify their voices regarding their experience of living at the care home. We thank our surveyors for their effort, dedication, and for giving their time so freely to connect with seniors across the province.

We also want to recognize the residents of the nearly 300 care homes and how those we  are engaging with have impacted us: the personal impact they have on each of the volunteer surveyors, as well as the collective impact they have had on shaping our province’s past and future. It is an absolute privilege to be able to serve them and to listen to their experiences of living at the care home.

The stories and lessons that have been heard by the volunteer surveyors will be remembered and cherished for years to come… as echoed in the comments below from several surveyors.

“I am grateful for this opportunity for a peek inside the world of Long-Term Care Homes… It has given me an insight into the varied needs of people… It is also teaching me the resilience of people in adapting to environments that are, for the most part, far removed from what they would have been accustomed to at “home”… Thank you for giving me the chance to meet and visit with so many lovely people.”
~ Karen

“If our actions can make life better for the residents by making their opinions known and changes [are] made because of that, then I will feel that I have helped bring some comfort to those in the long-term care homes.”
~ Samm

“Thank you for this amazing opportunity to be an advocate surveyor for long-term care residents in my community. It is both humbling and exhilarating, all at the same time.”
~ Cheryl

“This experience has been very rewarding for me. So many of the people I’ve interviewed have provided a lot of inspiration through their attitudes and positive outlook, in spite of adverse experiences and physical impediments. It sure “upped” my positive view of how us humans can live our lives!!”
~ Bert

The OSA Long-Term Care Project Team is celebrating:
– Nearly 500 volunteers recruited
– Over 13,000 volunteer hours logged
– 40 volunteers who have exceeded 60  hours of surveying!

As we reflect and appreciate both senior OSA Surveyors and senior residents, we are humbled by the opportunity to work with, listen to and learn from all of BC’s seniors. On behalf of our entire project team…

Thank you!

Volunteering Weaves us Together

Strengthening the fabric of our community by sharing our time, talent, and energy to support one another.

This is the theme of National Volunteer Week!  Its a time to celebrate and thank our over 450 volunteers, without whom would not be able to listen and engage with the nearly 30,000 residents living in publicly funded long-term care in our province.

We greatly admire our Volunteer Surveyors’ kindness, dedication, altruism, patience, energy, and positivity. Each Surveyor has made, and continues to make, a significant difference in the lives of residents living in long-term care. This survey would not be possible without our Surveyors!

  • – Over 450 volunteers have trained to become structured interviewers across the province!!

  • – Over 9,200 total hours logged by our volunteers across the province!

“The root of happiness is altruism – the wish to be of service to others.”
~ Dalai Lama

Volunteering  weaves us together by sharing time, talent and energy to support one another. We, the OSA LTC Project Team are so proud and honoured to work with each and all.   Thank you!!

Comox Valley volunteers needed to conduct seniors’ long-term care survey

Friendly faces and listening ears are wanted in the Comox Valley to spend time with and record the experiences of seniors living in long-term care.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate, with help from volunteers across the province, is in the process of surveying all residents in publicly subsidized long-term care homes in B.C. In the Comox Valley, that work is already ongoing at Glacier View Lodge, and surveyors will begin the process at Cumberland Lodge on April 12.

Volunteers are needed for both locations.

Originally appearing here, on April 9, 2023.

Friendly faces needed to meet with Salmon Arm seniors for provincial survey

Volunteers in process of conducting survey at publicly subsidized long-term care homes

Friendly faces and listening ears are wanted in Salmon Arm to spend time with and record the experiences of seniors living in long-term care.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate, with help from volunteers across the province, is in the process of surveying all residents in publicly subsidized long-term care homes in B.C. In Salmon Arm, that work has already been done with residents of Bastion Place. There are three other facilities to be surveyed soon, Hillside Village, Piccadilly Seniors Community and Mount Ida Mews.

“More volunteers are needed throughout April and May to ensure that each one of these seniors has the opportunity to share their perspective with a friendly face and listening ear,” said Emily Jurek, regional engagement lead with the Ministry of Health.

Jurek said volunteers go into the care homes, sit down with seniors and ask them about their experiences living in care.

Surveys are being conducted in 294 publicly subsidized long-term care homes across the province. Family and visitors of each resident in care will be invited to complete a related online survey, asking them to share their perceptions of their loved one’s care and their own experience visiting care homes.

According to the Office of the Seniors Advocate, information collected from the resident interviews and family/frequent visitor surveys “will be an important source of information for the Seniors Advocate to identify system-wide issues.”

Information about joining the survey team is available by calling the Office of the Seniors Advocate at 1-877-952-3181 or 2-1-1, or by visiting

Written by LACHLAN LABERE, originally appearing here on March 14, 2023.