Action needed to improve access to info on residential care facilities

Vancouver Sun report underscores need for action on provincial ombudsperson’s recommendation
News release

The Hospital Employees’ Union is urging premier-designate Christy Clark to act on key recommendations made over a year ago by the province’s Ombudsperson that would assist families in making decisions about residential care for their loved ones.

The union’s secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says the Vancouver Sun’s publication today of an online database of Lower Mainland care home inspection reports underscores the lack of action taken to date on those recommendations.

HEU secretary-business manager Judy Darcy says that in the first part of a report on seniors’ care released in December 2009, B.C. Ombudsperson Kim Carter recommended that government implement a user-friendly provincial website containing up-to-date, detailed information on care facilities.

“The ombudsperson was very clear that families should be able to access information about direct care hours, staffing levels, funding and facility ownership so that they could make informed decisions about their loved one’s care,” says Darcy.

“It’s disappointing that more than a year later, there has been no action and no commitment by government to provide such an important resource.

“The Vancouver Sun has provided a service to the public, but they can only report on data from inspection reports secured through freedom of information requests.

“Long-term care residents and their families deserve to have ready access to a comprehensive provincial database that provides a greater level of accountability on the standards of care available at long-term care facilities.”

Carter made a number of other recommendations that were not implemented by government. She has yet to release the second part of her report on seniors’ care.

HEU represents more than 20,000 health care workers who care for seniors’ in extended care, long-term care, assisted living and home support services.

These HEU members include nurses (LPNs and RNs), care aides, activity aides, rehab assistants, dietary and housekeeping staff, clerical workers and maintenance personnel.