BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie has released results from the second provincewide survey of thousands of long-term care residents and their family members.
The survey covered 297 publicly subsidized care facilities in B.C. and received responses from over 10,000 residents and almost 8,000 family members and close friends. Just over 500 British Columbians volunteered to assist residents to complete the survey. The questions and design parallel the 2016/17 survey allowing reliable comparison to previous results.
The survey results show there has been little improvement in areas such as frequency of bathing, help at mealtimes, meaningful activities, engagement with staff and other residents and the overall ratings of quality remain relatively unchanged. Despite these shortcomings, residents continue to give high marks to long-term care home staff for their skill, compassion and ability to treat residents with respect.
Highlights from the survey include:
- 54% rated the overall quality of the care and services received in the home as ‘excellent’ or ‘very good’
- Almost 80% of residents felt they could express their opinions ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’
- 81% of residents decide how to spend their time
- 85% of residents felt their privacy was respected during care ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’
- 95% of residents reported they have never been treated unfairly by staff due to their race or cultural background, and 97% reported they have never been treated unfairly due to their sexual orientation
- 88% of residents feel safe when they are alone ‘almost’ or ‘most of the time’
- 87% of residents reported they trust staff to take good care of them and staff treat them like a whole person ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’
- 48% of residents feel their care home ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ feels like home
- 51% of residents said staff only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ make time for a friendly conversation or ask how to meet their needs
- 50% of residents reported they ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ had the same care aide most weekdays
- 33% of residents report that they only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get help to eat when needed
- One-third of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get to decide when to get up
- 29% of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ get help right away if needed although 79% report they could get the services they need ‘always’ or ‘most of the time’
- Almost two-thirds of residents only ‘sometimes’, ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ find enjoyable things to do on evenings and weekends, or find opportunities to explore new skills or interests
The report includes the following 8 recommendations:
- Increase staffing levels in all care facilities to the nationally recommended 4.1 hours of direct care per resident per day
- Increase flexibility of scheduling
- Increase social connections for residents by creating more meaningful activities to improve resident engagement
- Improve food and mealtime experience to meet residents’ preferences, including nutritional and culturally-specific dietary needs
- Implement compulsory professional education for all care home staff in cultural safety and emotional health and well-being of residents
- Allow all residents (or substitute decision maker, if appropriate) to name their “essential visitor”
- Work closely with the Independent Long-Term Care Councils Association of BC to raise awareness and increase the function of resident and family councils at all long-term care facilities in B.C.
- Improve community-based services, in particular home support, to ensure seniors are not required to seek long-term care unless their care needs cannot be met in the community