SCRUTINIZING CARE HOMES
Database offers key statistics
B.C. residents can, for the first time, find out which publicly funded seniors homes have the highest number of serious incidents in their facilities, such as abuse and neglect, patients going missing, and events that can cause “severe harm.”
The information was compiled in a recent report by the B.C. Seniors Advocate, who provided the data to The Vancouver Sun. The newspaper created a searchable, online database that allows you to see how many complaints have been filed against the 292 publicly funded seniors homes in the province.
For example, the places with the most reports in 2014-15 of residents going missing or wandering away were Oak Bay Lodge (12) in Victoria, Yaletown House Society (10) in Vancouver and Sunridge Place — The Arbours (9) in Duncan.
Selkirk Place in Victoria had the highest number of abuse and neglect reports in 2014-15 with five, followed by Sunridge and six other facilities with four each.
Oak Bay, Sunridge and Selkirk fall under the jurisdiction of Vancouver Island Health Authority. Spokeswoman Kellie Hudson said Tuesday the report will be useful to seniors and their families, and added it will use the information to improve the quality of care.
As for the abuse and neglect incidents, Hudson said they cannot be addressed generically because they would range in severity, but she did note that some facilities have had recent challenges recruiting staff.
“(Oak Bay and Sunridge) are both large sites, so it is reasonable that the numbers will be larger than for smaller sites,” Hudson said of the wandering and missing reports.
“Sites that care for a mobile, dementia population would see more wandering than sites that care for a more cognitively capable population, or a less-mobile population.”
Rates of wandering can be higher in older facilities, added Anna Marie D’Angelo of Vancouver Coastal Health, which oversees Yaletown House. Newer ones tend to have secure outdoor spaces that prevent residents from slipping away.
The highest number of complaints about a facility not being in compliance with licensing regulations tended to be within the Vancouver Island Health Authority: The Heights at Mount View (25) in Saanich, Nanaimo Seniors Village (21), Victoria Sunset Lodge (20), Arrowsmith Lodge (15) in Parksville, and Sunridge Place (12).
“We don’t like to see complaints,” Hudson said. “In each case, the incident was investigated and the facility presented a health and safety plan to resolve the concern.”
The 292 seniors homes — includ- ing those owned by health authorities and private companies — are governed by two different acts: two-thirds are required to provide a breakdown of incidents (such as abuse or wandering or falls), while the other third report all of these things under one category called “serious adverse events.”
Vancouver Coastal Health has jurisdiction over five of the top six facilities with the most of these “serious adverse events,” defined as an unexpected incident, unrelated to the patient’s medical condition, that was the likely cause of severe harm or death.
Places with the highest number of these events in 2014-15 were Arbutus Care Centre in Vancouver with 26; Inglewood Care Centre in West Vancouver with 20; and Royal Ascot Care Centre, Banfield Pavilion, and Lake View Care Centre, all with 19 and all in Vancouver. The other facility in the top six list was Holyrood Manor in Coquitlam, in the Fraser Health Region, with 19 incidents.
Coastal Health’s D’Angelo said most of these were falls, and therefore less serious than abuse or going missing. Falls can happen more frequently in older facilities, she added, where there are more steps and hallways are wider.
Asked for specific numbers for the more serious infractions, D’Angelo said it was a licensing decision not to give that information to the seniors advocate.
People should consider other factors, beyond the advocate’s report, to choose the right facility for a loved one, she suggested.
“Any kind of information is helpful but you need to keep it in context and I don’t think you should rely on any one thing,” D’Angelo said. “You have to interview the staff. You have to do your homework.”
Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said B.C.’s ombudsperson identified the need for this resource.