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 surveybcseniors.org.

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

Volunteers needed to survey Burnaby long-term care home residents

Give the gift of time to B.C. seniors and make every voice count.

Want to support seniors and help give them a voice?

An independent agency of B.C. government is looking for you. The B.C. Office of the Seniors Advocate (OSA) is calling on volunteers across the province to help in its survey of B.C. seniors in long-term care homes about the quality of their lives.

Between now and late spring, the initiative, Every Voice Counts, will see trained volunteers survey British Columbia (including Burnaby) long-term care home residents and their loved ones about the residents’ experiences in the homes, and will seek collective input on making improvements both provincially and locally.

According to the Survey BC Seniors website, they aim to reach out to 29,284 residents living in 294 publicly funded care homes
in B.C. and their families.

The same survey, which was conducted for the first time pre-pandemic in 2016/17, noted areas of improvement in care homes. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said it is even more important to assess what life is like for seniors in long-term care facilities and how it can be made better.

Survey BC Seniors encourages more volunteer surveyors to join the team — especially in Burnaby, where seniors from eight facilities are waiting to be heard and share their voice and concerns.

Anyone interested in volunteering and making a difference in seniors’ lives can apply on the website. All necessary training is provided.

Volunteers are encouraged to apply within the next couple of weeks — however, there is no closing date on applications.

Originally appears here by Abhinaya Natesh on March 7, 2023.

Volunteers needed to survey residents Langley long-terms care home

Initiative involves visiting seniors and learning about their experiences

Survey BC Seniors is calling on volunteers in Langley to support a project aimed at improving the quality of life of the province’s 29,000 plus long-term care residents. The initiative will see trained volunteers survey residents of Langley and Aldergrove care homes, asking them about their experiences and seeking their input on how to make improvements both locally and provincially.

The BC Office of Patient-Centred Measurement is leading the survey, and volunteers surveyors are needed, who will listen and interview seniors living in long-term care. According to Judy Zhu, regional engagement lead at the British Columbia Ministry of Health, volunteers will be asked to commit around 40 hours of their time.

“It’s quite an extensive survey. People really enjoy the experience, residents love it because someone is coming to visit who isn’t family or staff,” said Zhu.

She further shared that one of the survey’s main guiding principles is ‘inclusion.’

The survey is translated into several prominent languages unique to the resident demographic in the Fraser Valley region, including Punjabi, Farsi, Cantonese, Mandarin, German, Italian, and Korean.

However, she also pointed out at some of the unique challenges in the Fraser Valley region, where Langley is located.

“The area has several large care homes, and Langley’s four care homes still need approximately 537 residents to be surveyed. Additionally, the Fraser Valley has a diverse population, with residents speaking languages. As a result, the survey has been translated into these languages to ensure inclusivity.”

Jerry Gosling, a volunteer from Langley, has been on the council of advisors for the BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, for the past five years. He is also one of the survey volunteers.

“I wanted to be involved with patients in long-term care homes and see what happens on a daily basis and also witness the challenges they face every day and night. I have enjoyed my time I have spent with them, and the learning curve is beyond measure.”

Janice Germaine, another volunteer from Langley, said, “becoming a volunteer surveyor appealed to me on several levels. As a retired healthcare professional, I could see how valuable this survey information will be. We all want high quality healthcare at any age. To really understand and have an impact, we must talk to those who are receiving that care.”

Germaine said the connection with individuals is important.

“I find that residents are happy to share feedback about where they live. Sometimes if a resident is having a bad day or they can’t answer specific questions, I just put my pen down and spend some time talking with them. I think that is rewarding for both of us.”

Survey BC Seniors is hopes that volunteers will enjoy the experience, meet new people, and come away with a sense of fulfillment. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can sign up through https://surveybcseniors.org/volunteer/. The project welcomes anyone interested in volunteering and making a difference in seniors’ lives.

The four long-term care facilities in Langley part of the survey are:

– Langley Lodge

– Extended Care Unit at the Langley Memorial Hospital

– Chartwell Langley Gardens Retirement Residence

– Fort Langley Seniors Community

The one long-term care facility in Aldergrove.

– Jackman Manor

Author is Tanmay Ahuluwalia

Published on February 24, 2023. It originally appeared here.

Call for volunteers to help survey residents in long-term care homes

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is launching the second province-wide survey of the experiences of residents living in all 294 publicly-subsidized long-term care homes in B.C. and is calling on all interested British Columbians to join the survey team.

“In 2016/17, we conducted the most extensive study of residents’ quality of life in Canada. Over 800 caring and committed British Columbians volunteered to visit every care home in B.C. and gave voice to over 10,000 residents,” said B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie. “Five years later, we once again call upon those who want to be part of improving the quality of life of seniors in long-term care to volunteer and join the survey team. We know British Columbians care deeply about seniors, and through participating in this survey, you can help shape the future for people in residential care homes across the province.”

This project is currently underway at several care homes in PG. Surveys are complete at Gateway Lodge and Rainbow Lodge, and are ongoing in Jubilee Lodge, Parkside Care, and Simon Fraser Lodge.

Members of the survey team will include British Columbians from a wide variety of backgrounds who engage with the seniors as equals in a conversation about what life is like in the place they live. The surveyors are supported by health care professionals from the Ministry of Health, health authorities and individual care homes. Volunteers will be screened for suitability and participate in training sessions to prepare them for conducting surveys with a minimum of 10 care home residents during the survey period.

Information about joining the survey team is available at www.surveybcseniors.org or by calling the Office of the Seniors Advocate toll free at 1-877-952-3181 or 2-1-1.

The long-term care quality of life survey examines topics such as food, safety, comfort, respect and responsiveness of staff, personal relationships, medications and activities. Residents will be interviewed in person and their family members will be invited to participate by phone, online or via a written survey. The survey will be conducted at care homes across the province between June 2022 and February 2023. A final report is planned for spring 2023.

The 2017 final report ‘Every Voice Counts: Provincial Residential Care Survey Results’ made recommendations for system improvements including:

– increasing care hours and ensuring staffing levels are enforced and monitored by heath authorities;
– increasing flexibility of how and when care and services are delivered;
– examining opportunities to improve the mealtime experience;
– advising health authorities to administer a similar quality of care survey to care home residents and family members in 2019/20 and publish the results;
– increasing training focused on the emotional needs of residents;
– foster greater engagement with family members particularly in regard to family councils and visitor handwashing;
– better physician care and increasing the role of nurse practitioners to improve care;
– increasing the range of activities, particularly in the evenings and weekends; and
undertaking the survey again in five years.

The Office of the Seniors Advocate is an independent office of the provincial government with a mandate of monitoring seniors’ services and reporting on systemic issues affecting seniors. The office also provides information and referral to seniors and their caregivers by calling toll free 1 877 952-3181, BC211, via email at info@seniorsadvocate.ca, Canada Post and the OSA web site https://www.seniorsadvocatebc.ca/.

Original article appears in the PG Daily News on Feb 1, 2023.

The OSA releases new report entitled “We Must Do Better: Home Support Services

BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie is urging the provincial government to undertake a fundamental restructuring of home support services.

In this new report entitled “We Must Do Better: Home Support Services for B.C. Seniors”, the BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie provides a comprehensive review of the province’s home support services and finds they are in need of fundamental restructuring. This second review demonstrates that the program is not keeping pace with the needs of a growing seniors’ population and the service remains unaffordable to a large number of seniors.

The report examines 5-year trends in home support funding, hours of care, client acuity, affordability and caregiver distress. Findings reveal that client complexity and frailty is rising, care hours are not growing to meet this need, and more of the care is being shifted to family caregivers who continue to experience high levels of distress.

The review includes survey responses from over 6,000 seniors who receive home support and found  people who receive service have high regard for the staff who provide their care and do not feel they are subject to discrimination.

Watch the report release here

Click here to read the report and accompanying documents.

Volunteers needed to survey Richmond seniors

More than 29,000 seniors will be surveyed in B.C. in 294 care homes

All seniors at publicly funded long-term care homes are being surveyed about their quality of life.
Seniors at one Richmond care home have already been interviewed, but volunteers are needed this spring to speak to seniors at five more facilities.

The surveys are being done by the Office of the Seniors Advocate and they are planning to interview 29,284 residents and their families across B.C. in 294 care homes.

Volunteers are being asked to commit a minimum of 40 hours of surveying – they will be provided with all the necessary training.

The survey was first done in 2016/17, but in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the seniors advocate felt it was important to reassess how seniors are doing at long-term care facilities and what can be done to make their lives better.

They are hoping to have all the surveys completed by late spring.

The interviews will take place in Richmond in March, April and early May.

Anyone interested can apply to volunteer to survey seniors at care homes can find information here.​

The full report from the 2016/17 survey can be found here.

Original article by Maria Rantanen, February 24, 2023 and appeared here:

Richmond News – Volunteers needed to survey Richmond seniors

Also looking for volunteers in Surrey, Kelowna, Kamloops,  Mission, Penticton, Prince George, Victoria , please apply here.

OSA Long-Term Care Survey in the News

Volunteers sought to interview seniors in long-term care

Have you ever wondered what it’s like for seniors to live in long-term care? Now is your chance to find out.

A survey being held by the Office of the Seniors Advocate is seeking volunteers to visit residents, see and learn what it’s like in long-term care, while conducting a structured interview with seniors.

The project will interview all 29,000-plus residents in the provincially funded long-term care system about quality of life, with the goal to make improvements for them, both locally and provincially.

People are needed to visit residents, talk to them, ask their opinion on certain topics, listen to their stories and ultimately brighten their day in long-term care.

A similar survey was done five years ago, and the results of the new survey will give a comparison of results over time, ensure what people learned from the pandemic, and allow a refresh of the road map for improvement of overall quality of care and services given to residents in long-term care.

Anyone can apply as a volunteer by going online or calling by phone to 1-877-952-3181.

Original article by Brayden Ursel, January 6, 2023 appears here: Castanet.net Volunteers sought to interview seniors in long term care

If you’re interested in volunteering in the Penticton, Prince George, Victoria (or anywhere else in the province), please apply here.

Volunteer Reflections: Surveying with Heart

Seniors are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population. Currently 15% of our population is aged 65 and older, and that number is expected to increase to 25% by 2056.

As a member of that demographic and being involved with organizations that are advocating for a comprehensive National Seniors’ Strategy, I was highly interested in the Nelson Star article about the province-wide survey being conducted by the Office of the Seniors’ Advocate. Volunteers were needed to survey every resident in long term care about their quality of life. This opportunity appealed to me because it was connected to my advocacy work, it was time limited, and it was a way to support our community. I committed to the training and forty hours of surveying.

The training prepared me for the technical work. What I was unprepared for was the range of emotions the work elicited. The first contact with the resident always started like a cold call. Would they be interested in doing the survey? Sometimes the answer was a “hard no” and other times the answer was “not now”. That meant I would need to return. But if the answer was “yes” the session moved to the survey design of question and response. The start was usually quite formal with some curious hesitancy on the part of the resident. However, a few moments of silent patience would often provide opportunity for them to gain confidence and begin to relax. It was so rewarding to watch the mood change from caution to comfortable.

By the survey end a magical transformation had happened. Now it was my turn to listen. With a twinkle in their eye, the residents would share stories of their growing up, moving around, or hard times. There would be stories of pride in their accomplishments, and in their children and grandchildren. But then with the occasional quiet honesty would come the quiet disclosure of being kinless and an expression of their loneliness. We shared chuckles, expressions of wonder and sometimes a tear. I felt so privileged to be in their home, the place where their memories now reside. We had become friends.

As a first-time volunteer in such a venture, I would encourage other beginning volunteers to carefully follow the training guidelines. The integrity of the survey must not be compromised. But remember the human element. It is important to take some additional time with the resident. Find a balance for the survey and listening time. Always keep in mind that while you are gathering information you are a guest in the resident’s home, a place of rich memories that are waiting to be shared. The opportunity to gather information that will be used to improve the lives of the residents, combined with “heart hearing,” is invaluable. This gathering and listening will enrich your life, knowing that you have contributed to the lives of others in multiple ways.

If you are interested in volunteering or know someone who would like to be a part of this meaningful survey project,  apply here.

Article written by By OSA Surveyor, Grace Wilson