BC FORUM News - news release from the BCGEU
September 15, 2017
BCGEU president Stephanie Smith responds to
latest report from BC Seniors Advocate: “More care workers needed to help seniors feel at home”
Vancouver – Today the Seniors’ Advocate of BC published the results of a comprehensive study on the state of care homes in BC. The report shows in no uncertain terms what many families, seniors, and care workers have been raising with government for some time now: basic standards in care homes are not being met.
“I can’t imagine how heartbreaking it must be for everyone involved to know there are people out there suffering. Without adequate resources or staffing to support them, seniors are feeling isolated and trapped in what is supposed to be their own home” said Stephanie Smith, BCGEU President. “When so many seniors are reporting not experiencing adequate levels of basic of personal hygiene, human interaction, and freedom it means there are serious concerns for their quality of life.”
This study reinforces the call by care workers for increased staffing so that basic standards of care can be met. That is the first recommendation made by Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie in her report. It is important to acknowledge that simply increasing training cannot solve the core issue. Instead the government must address the staffing ratios between full time staff and residents in care homes which currently does not allow for adequate care to be provided to all.
BC seniors and their families have identified significant lapses in emotional support, and isolation as key areas for improvement. Important quality of life aspects such as decent meals, social activities, and meaningful social interactions are left wanting or simply non-existent. While we know that workers are struggling trying to meet standards and the needs of residents, at the current staffing levels it is not possible to achieve any of the report’s eight recommendations.
“For the report’s eight recommendations to be implemented, the government needs to commit significant resources to bringing in more workers to improve the quality of life for seniors. Last year the government promised to hire 1,500 new health workers as part of a half a billion-dollar investment in seniors’ care,” recalled Smith. “We look forward to meeting with the government to make sure that the significant investment negotiated with Ottawa by the previous government will go into addressing these issues”
BCGEU members working in the sector have been advocating for better standards of care for quite some time through their Seniors Deserve Better Campaign. They have been petitioning government, and raising awareness of this issue.
The BCGEU represents over 73,000 workers in British Columbia, including over 16,000 workers in various health sectors.