The Office of the Seniors Advocate needs volunteers to survey the residents of long-term care facilities.
Regional engagement lead Emily Jurek said over the next few months the survey’s goal is to approach every person in publically-funded long-term care facilities. To do that they will need local boots on the ground including volunteers in 100 Mile House.
“We are looking for lots of volunteers, we’re 100 per cent volunteer-run. We’ve had so many volunteers step forward across the province,” Jurek said. “So for anyone who is interested in volunteering we provide all the training.”
Jurek said applicants should be prepared to allocate about 40 hours over several weeks to complete the survey. The surveys will be conducted during the weekday as most facilities don’t like disruptions to their evening and weekend activities. Applicants can register online at surverybcseniors.org/volunteer.
“It’s such a great opportunity to connect with people. I’ve found that personally, as a surveyor, its so rewarding to talk to seniors, hear their stories, brighten their day and make them feel they’ve been listened to.”
The 100 Mile House survey is set to take place in January, Jurek said. Across the province, she said they hope to be done by the end of February.
Jurek said surveyors will learn what issues are facing seniors and where their care can be improved. She added this will also be a good chance to evaluate the effect the pandemic had on seniors and their care.
“I’ve done a number of surveys with residents myself and just from my anecdotal experience I find a lot of residents are having issues with family visitation,” Jurek said. “Right now vaccination against COVID is required for visitors to enter and another thing is the isolation that happened when care homes were completely closed.”
A similar survey was conducted in 2016 which led to several recommendations on how to improve long-term care. They included increasing the care hours provided to residents, hiring additional staff, making mealtimes more enjoyable and increasing the flexibility of how services were provided.
Some of these issues, especially staffing, will likely be raised again by this survey. Jurek is hopeful changes will be made to increase staffing levels for healthcare facilities across the province. She noted that many of the other issues facing seniors in these facilities will be addressed if there are more people to meet their needs.
“(This survey) is going to drive positive change in our communities. We need to make sure long-term care in B.C. is something we can be proud of,” Jurek said.
For questions or additional information, Jurek can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-675-8873.