Advocacy groups in Nanaimo and Comox Valley are calling for independent monitoring of long-term care facilities in the communities. Adobe stock image

Advocacy groups in Nanaimo and Comox Valley are calling for independent monitoring of long-term care facilities in the communities. Adobe stock image

Vancouver Island watchdog groups calling for independent monitoring of long-term care facilities

SICC/COL Submission

In response to recent media on conditions in long term care, frontline families from Nanaimo and the Comox Valley have issued a call for “volunteer residents’ Ambassadors for Quality Care” at long-term care facilities in each community, answerable to the family council.

The lockdown of long-term care facilities in B.C. is continuing, and almost all families are locked out of their loved ones’ lives.

“Everything is undercover now,” says Joan van der Holt, a member of Crying Out Loud for Quality Residential Dementia Care (COL) in the Comox Valley. “We can’t go into the facility and see what is happening… we have no idea of care hours, wound care, or any other quality of care issues, because family members cannot get in. Even our family doctors are not allowed in.”

Family members are haunted by images of those with dementia sitting listlessly, for days on end, with most recreation still forbidden, and no one to check the quality of food or provide any music or other entertainment.

The families point out that while we are hearing horror stories out of Ontario and Quebec, due to the military reports, we do have our own problems here in B.C.

RELATED: 36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

In fact, it was the unearthing of these failures which led to the public administrators being appointed in four LTC facilities, long before COVID-19. The BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, outlined some of the failures of for-profit facilities in A Billion Reasons to Care, published in February 2020. (

With no independent eyes on the floor, the families are proposing an independent monitor to be their eyes and ears.

“Such a concept is long overdue. It is imperative that we work with the facilities and government to develop protocols for this ‘Ambassador for Quality Care,’” says Marcy Johnsrude of Seniors in Care Crisis (SICC) in Nanaimo. “An independent ambassador would help to ensure the physical and emotional health of our seniors during this time and permanently thereafter. The families say it is imperative that things move forward to protect our elders and this is a measure to protect our elders now.”

“Locked doors cannot continue forever,” says Greta Judd, of COL. “We need to restore the civil rights of our seniors, while maintaining infection control. We are presenting this as a permanent concept as a part of restoring civil rights issues, and we anticipate that facilities will be excited for our help as this will undoubtedly improve care.”

FMI: Greta Judd, Crying out Loud, 250-792-1100

Marcy Johnsrude, Seniors in Care Crisis, 250-758-4474

SICC – Seniors in Care Crisis is a BC advocacy group concerned with the quality of long term care in the province, to educate and engage family, friends, the public to take action for improvement.

COL – Crying Out Loud, a volunteer non-profit society (pending) that advocates for quality residential dementia care.

Comox ValleyNanaimo

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Firefighters from three departments battled a house fire south of Nanaimo for more than nine hours Sunday. (Photo courtesy Martin Leduc)
Home destroyed by fire south of Nanaimo

Firefighters from three fire departments battle blaze fanned by strong southerly winds on Sunday

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

Most Read