Care aides needed

Provincial government needs to provide money for senior care

British Columbia Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie’s recent report on resident-to-resident aggression in the province’s long-term residential seniors care facilities has turned the spotlight on the B.C. Liberal government.

Mackenzie pointed to insufficient care time being provided for the residents as a systemic problem in long-term care facilities in the province.

The study found staffing levels in many facilities were below the provincial guideline of 3.36 care hours per resident per day.

The study reviewed 422 incidents of aggression leading to harm between residents in care homes during the past year, and the Seniors Advocate recommended a further review be done on the care time provided to residents with more complex needs.

Mackenzie also compared facilities’ data on medication use, incidence of dementia, paid care hours and other overall characteristics.

These are definitely areas that need to be studied and followed up with recommendations and actions to ensure the safety of the residents as well as the staff.

More than 400 incidents of resident-to-resident aggression cases is far too many.

Too many of the transgressions are wildly violent and, obviously, have caused a strain on the residents, the families and the staff.

This is not a new problem.

Family members have been hollering about abusive situations in long-term residential care facilities for decades.

Their cries for help and change have generally fallen on deaf ears.

The Hospital Employees Union has been telling the provincial government that there needs to be more staffing in long-term residential care facilities.

A local union representative notes the Ministry of Health acted like the Seniors Advocates’ report was full of surprises, which, of course, is nonsense.

The ministry is finally responding to the pleas for help and change – not because there haven’t been complaints about the situation because it has been ongoing during the B.C. Liberals reign in this province.

The ministry is reacting now because someone with significant clout has publicly declared there is a significant and escalating problem in our long-term residential care facilities that has to be fixed.

While more study may be needed to find out where the systemic problems are and how they can be fixed, there is some immediate action that needs to be done to stop the bleeding.

More money has to be put into health-care system.

Clearly, we need to hire more care aides, who provide the hands-on, day-to-day treatment for the long-term care residents.

We need more hands-on and eyes-on care in these facilities.

This is not a problem that will go away; there are more seniors coming down the pipe.