Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors advocate, was in Nanaimo on Saturday to speak about her office’s Better Seniors’ Care report. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

B.C. seniors’ advocate at Nanaimo forum calls for more transparency at care homes

Isobel Mackenzie speaks at long-term care crisis town hall at Branch 256 Legion

A Nanaimo woman speaking at a town hall on the crisis in long-term care says her father spent his final days suffering, and she wants better service for seniors.

Seniors in Care Crisis, a Nanaimo group concerned about quality of long-term seniors’ care, hosted a town hall at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 256 on Saturday.

Norma Steven told attendees her father, Russell Cooley, died last November after being admitted to hospital with a “deep ulcerated, infected wound on his buttock.” He didn’t suffer from dementia and used a wheelchair and required extended care because of “severe arthritis.” It is Steven’s belief that he could have lived “happily a few more years” with better care.

RELATED: For-profit senior care homes spend less on staff, says advocate

“Arthritis was not the cause of his death … Instead of experiencing compassion and the expertise that is essential for the well-being of long-term care residents, my father was robbed of the time and the little pleasures that were left for him,” said Steven. “He was robbed of any human dignity by being routinely left unbathed for weeks. He was robbed of human dignity by being left in a wheelchair and unchanged from soiled undergarments.”

Steven said her family made suggestions to staff at Nanaimo Seniors Village, asked questions and offered to help. The situation has to change, she said.

RELATED: VIHA puts Nanaimo seniors home under administration

In recent months, the B.C. government has assumed control of Retirement Concepts facilities across the province, including Nanaimo Seniors Village, due to what the government says is an inability to meet provincial care standards.

Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors’ advocate, cited her recently released report on the contracted long-term care sector in B.C. when addressing the audience at Saturday’s gathering. One of her findings was that while non- and for-profit care homes receive the same level of public funding on average, non-profits surpass direct-care hour targets by an extra 80,000 hours. For-profits fail to deliver 207,000 direct-care hours for which they are funded, the report said.

Revenue from government is guaranteed and there is no financial penalties for non-compliance, said Mackenzie, and she wondered if there should be.

“I drive very, very carefully on the highway now because I know that if you exceed the speed limit, you are financially penalized … We have to look at whether it is now time to do financial penalties for, what I could call, consistent and persistent non-compliance,” said Mackenzie. “It wouldn’t replace the ability to put in an administrator, but I think some of the people in this room are probably asking themselves if certain operators had been starting to receive fines of $2,000 a day, would they have been able to find a remedy before the need to put an administrator in place?”

Oversight and transparency are also needed, Mackenzie said, starting with public reporting of the expense reports that she reviews.

”I think that that would drive a lot of change because people like you would demand it and you would be armed with factual information to back up what you are experiencing,” said Mackenzie. “Because I think that is one of the frustrations that a number of people … have. When they talk to the care home, they get explanations and they initially are satisfied with the explanations because they sound reasonable, but if you have the context and the information, you might realize that explanation is not that reasonable.”

For more information, go to www.seniorsincarecrisis.ca.

Retirement Concepts was contacted for comment, but has not responded yet.


More from the News Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter

seniors housing

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

Just Posted

Stolen gargoyle returns to its perch in south Nanaimo

Petey, a concrete gargoyle statue, was returned by police after City of Nanaimo crew found it

RDN Transit to see rollout of 15 new HandyDart buses

Buses will have temporary protective barriers installed to prevent spread of COVID-19

RDN says water in French Creek still potable despite levels of iron, manganese

Strategy to improve water quality being established

United Way distributes $120,000 in federal funding to seniors in need during pandemic

Salvation Army, Eden Gardens, hospice society among groups granted money

Man who used to live in Nanaimo sought by RCMP on the mainland

Ajia Richardson unlawfully at large after failing to return to psychiatric hospital in Coquitlam

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Beefs & Bouquets, May 27

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo senior who was excessively speeding says her vehicle shouldn’t have been impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Two Nanaimo teens on a go-kart get Tim Hortons drive-thru order

Grade 8 students at NDSS answer grandparent’s challenge

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

RCMP remind public to leave dogs chilling at home on hot days

Dogsafe has designed a Dog in a Hot Car Responder Checklist

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Most Read