Seniors in subsidized care homes to be surveyed on quality of life

On the heels of releasing a provincewide report on long-term care homes in British Columbia, B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie announced this week her office will now survey residents living in subsidized care homes about their quality of life.

The survey aims to reach all 27,000 residents living in 303 facilities.

“For the first time in this province, we are going to every care facility and we are asking every resident and their most frequent visitor a number of questions about their quality of life in the care facility,” Mackenzie said in a press release.

Questions will cover topics such as privacy, food quality, safety and whether residents feel staff are responsive to their needs.

Mackenzie believes every senior in a publicly funded nursing home should have their own bedroom, but 25 per cent of seniors in subsidized care homes share a room. (Besides semi-private rooms, there are 820 multi-person rooms in B.C. that are shared between three to five people.)

As well, the Hospital Employees’ Union — which represents care aides in seniors’ homes throughout the province — has stated its members are rushed and feel unable to give seniors the time they need for basic care, such as feeding and bathing. These anecdotal accounts by staff were confirmed recently after the B.C. Seniors Advocate Directory showed the vast majority of long-term care facilities in B.C. do not meet Ministry of Health staffing guidelines. The directory showed there were 232 government-funded homes that did not meet staffing guidelines of 3.36 hours of direct care per senior per day.

Regarding the issue of safety, The Vancouver Sun reported that in the past four years, 16 seniors died while in an extended care home after a physical confrontation with another senior. Last year, there were more than 1,000 reported incidents of physical aggression, but experts believe that number could be much higher.

Residents taking part in Mackenzie’s survey will be interviewed in person and their most frequent visitor — often a family member, will be mailed a survey.

“Through this comprehensive and standardized approach we will be able to learn from the people who call residential care their home what impacts their quality of life and whether we are meeting their needs,” Mackenzie said.

The survey was designed after 14 months of consultation with seniors, facility operators, health authorities, union representatives, seniors groups, family members and academics.

Mackenzie said her office is looking for interested volunteers willing to be trained and able to do at least 30 hours over the survey period to help seniors participate.

To volunteer go to Volunteers can apply online or call the Seniors Advocate office at 1-877-952-3181.

Source of article: Vancouver Sun

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