Violations at seniors home

A Summerland seniors care home owned by the Chinese government has been under the close eye of inspectors this year, and they haven’t liked what they’ve been finding.

The Summerland Seniors Village has been visited by Interior Health four times this year, according to inspection reports reviewed by Castanet News.

During three of those visits, the facility was found to not be staffing to adequate levels, among a variety of other infractions.

The facility was thrust under the microscope earlier this year after complaints to local politicians about the facility not meeting staffing obligations.

The Summerland Seniors Village was purchased by China’s Anbang Insurance last year along with 21 other B.C. care homes with the purchase of Retirement Concepts for $1 billion. In February, the Chinese government seized control of the company and jailed its CEO for fraud.

While a July 31 inspection was a regularly announced visit, the three other inspections on Sept. 21, Nov. 22 and Nov. 23 were in response to complaints received by IH.

In all three cases the allegations were “substantiated" or "partially substantiated.”

The most recent inspection just two weeks ago on Nov. 23 found the facility’s staffing patterns were not meeting “the needs of persons in care… in a manner consistent with the health, safety and dignity” of those in care.

MLA Dan Ashton says he's heard a steady stream of complaints about staffing shortages at the care home this year.

“The staff that are there are incredible, they work hard, they really love the residents. They are so helpful, but there just isn’t enough of them and they are challenged,” he said. “I’ve personally seen where people come early in the morning for the morning shift and they are there late at night because there is no help.”

Ashton points to the pay discrepancy between privately-operated facilities and those run by IH, where staff are compensated by up to $5 per hour more, as a major contributor to the staffing crunch.

He says recommendations from the provincial committee on budget consultations, which he sits on, are headed to the Minister of Finance’s desk that call on government to establish minimum staffing levels and equalized compensation for care workers.

“It’s not the only thing, but it will help,” Ashton said. “Those inspections are proving what was brought to myself and MP Dan Albas right at the start — that there are staffing shortages and they need to be addressed.”

In some cases, family members have gone as far as hiring outside help to ensure their loved ones are cared for properly at the home. 

Other violations found during the inspections include failing to report incidents, not meeting individual care plans and not properly monitoring the environment and care of residents.

Each inspection report compels the facility operator to present a written plan on how it will come into compliance with regulations. Those plans are not available for viewing online.

Interior Health did not make anyone available for comment.

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