Advocate for seniors

Allow me to give you an interesting timeline on the above results from Ms. Isobel Mackenzie’s office. I was considered my mothers most frequent visitor and received my survey questionnaire on or about September 5th. I completed and mailed the survey back on the 13th of September.  The survey showed that the questionnaire was to be completed by Sept 22, 2017.  Yet the results of this survey were heard on a radio interview with Ms. MacKenzie and a subsequent article followed on Sept 16th!  Well before the survey deadline of September 22! I called the Advocates office but was unable to speak to Ms.MacKenzie to question this but was told the survey was in two parts. The covering letter from their office had no mention of this.

Another point of interest to me is the fact that the home my mother is in is not even included in the published results!  I would ask “why bother sending it to the residents and their family members then?”Confusion and fatigue are a huge factor with a big majority of residents in residential homes, it seems almost cruel to put them through this and I wonder how accurate their answers would be. This would certainly be the case for my own 95 year old Mom.

In doing my “own survey” over the past three years (the last year in Complex Care in two facilities) I can honestly tell you what I’ve learned in the process.

-  get your “loved ones” name on a wait list for Assisted Living or Complex Care as there will be a substantial wait time.  This also holds true for Private Pay complexes not funded by Interior Health.
-  take tours of the facilities and keep in mind the size of a wheelchair and the bathroom size. Ask many questions but keep in mind that the manager and/or marketing assistant have a way of making things sound better than they will be!
-  of the many that I saw “1 bath per week” was the norm.
-  A private facility (private pay/no funding) does not necessarily mean you will be getting better or more help
-  some of the funded residences also have a “few” private pay rooms as well
-  I cannot stress enough how important it is to be your loved ones Advocate: at doctors appointments, medications and hospital visits. Attend the residents family meetings to make your voice heard.
-  treat the staff with the respect you would like them to give to your loved one.
-  the majority of the staff that we have come into contact with have been very caring, hard working and loving -  there just simply are not enough of them and that’s where the problem lies.
It is next to impossible to meet the requirements of all the residents when faced with these time constraints and not enough staffing.

I hope the results of this survey will one day change this patient/staff ratio.

Donna Numminen

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