Greetings from our Volunteers in Kitimat

Doug and Corrine, two of our wonderful Volunteer Interviewers from the North, sat down with Judy to talk about what brought them to the project, their experience volunteering, and what their hopes are for this province-wide initiative.

Doug, who has been living in Kitimat since 1977, is a retired school teacher and counselor. Corrine, who retired to Kitimat in 2008 with her husband, used to work in Alberta with the local government and comes from an accounting background. Both Doug and Corrine volunteer on the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation, so when Corrine read about the project in a local paper, she phone Doug and suggested they both sign up!

Q: Why did you apply to be a Volunteer Interviewer with the BC OSA’s Survey?

Doug: I thought it would be immensely valuable to go inside the facilities and see for myself what it’s like inside the doors. For me, I wanted to gain insights into the care and to hear what the residents have to say about their care.

Q: What do you know now that you didn’t when you started volunteering for this project?

Corrine: That what I had thought may be issues, so far, have been non-issues. Actually, having a chance to speak with the residents has been extremely valuable and so far most residents reported being very happy with their staff and everyone I’ve interviewed so far have also said they feel really sorry for the staff there are so few of them, and that the staff here are so overworked.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about this volunteer role?

Doug: I think this is a super project. Somebody is trying and somebody is caring. There are many residents that are happy to be asked for their opinions. They feel that they are making a connection with someone and that’s important. For the most part, residents have been happy to participate if they can do so.

Q: When you’re with the resident, what is the most important thing to remember as a Volunteer Interviewer? 

Corrine: Making eye contact and treating them with respect. Being friendly shows respect. Really listen to what they say. Making a personal connection with them is important. If you really pay attention, not looking down too much at the survey and what you are writing can help engage the residents more fully.

Q: What is your hope for this project?

Doug: Don’t stop doing the surveys, keep doing it and just get better at doing it. Maybe break the survey in to smaller topics and group them into different surveys. Such as health and nutrition in one survey and safety and security in another. It’s important that the MFV is included. I’d like to see the survey expand to include staff and other seniors from assisted living, hospital, and respite.

Corrine: I really hope that the provincial government will look at the overall survey and take steps to do something. Because there is obviously a need to improve/increase the care as more of us get older and need long term care.

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