Complaints dog care home

Complaints continue to dog a Summerland seniors care home, despite significant strides the facility has made with staffing shortages over the past year.

A series of Interior Health inspections last month at the Summerland Seniors Village substantiated or partially substantiated a series of complaints made over lapses in care at the centre.

“One day in April 2019, an employee left persons in care in bed until approximately 12:30 p.m., did not change dressings or provide mouth care,” reads an Interior Health inspection report dated July 11. 

IH visited the care home four times in July to follow up on a variety of complaints, which also included patients being provided with “Boost” drinks in their rooms rather than a meal in the dining room. 

Another complaint from May 2019 saw an employee put a person in care to bed at 6:30 p.m., “which did not meet their needs at that time.”

“A person in care needs were not met until after an employee decided to take a break,” states another substantiated complaint. “The manager reports that this response took longer than it should have been.”

Judging from the complaint reports, one would assume the Chinese-state-owned care home has continued to struggle with adequately staffing the facility. The numbers, however, tell a different story. 

Figures provided to Castanet News show patients at the Summerland Seniors Village received an average of 2.94 hours of direct care per day — just short of the mandated 2.99 — in the quarter ending June 30. It’s a significant improvement from last year, when hours dipped to the 2.5 range. 

The provincial government recommends patients receive 3.36 hours of care per day when factoring in “allied” support workers like dieticians and social workers. The most recent data shows the total average daily care hours at the Summerland Seniors Village was 3.23.

“We are happy, they’ve had a change in leadership at that site and have really made some real positive inroads over the last six months,” said Jon Clare, IH health service administrator for long-term care in the South Okanagan.

He said he is confident in the level of care patients of the Summerland Seniors Village are now receiving, noting that beyond annual inspections, visits to care homes like the four in Summerland last month are complaint-driven. 

“People are allowed to elicit concerns to licensing and have licensing follow up with inspections,” Clare said. “It’s a very subjective situation. You may get one person or family in one site that is concerned and they will continue to call licensing multiple times. Licensing is mandated to follow up and that’s what they’ve done.”

He said IH inspectors were happy with the solutions provided to them by site management during their visits. 

IH meets with its private care home operators quarterly to review care hours to ensure obligations are met. He said the upcoming meeting will be more positive than those last year, but more improvement is needed in hours for “allied” professional and non-professional staff. 

The B.C. healthcare sector, particularly in seniors care, has been grappling with a large labour shortage for years now. The B.C. Care Providers Association declared in May staffing shortages at B.C. Interior Care homes have reached an emergency level, urging the government to do more to cut red tape and allow out-of-province workers in.

The care home has been under an incredible amount of scrutiny since its ownership was taken over by the Chinese government. The Summerland Seniors Village is one of 21 B.C. facilities owned by Retirement Concepts, a company purchased by China’s Anbang Insurance for $1B in 2017. In February 2018, the Chinese government seized control of the company and jailed its CEO for fraud.

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