Editor, The Nelson Daily:
This is an open letter to asking the BC Minister of Health to implement all 176 recommendations in the Ombudsperson's February 2012 Report "The Best of Care, Getting it Right for Seniors in British Columbia (Part 2)".
After hearing Ombudsperson, Kim Carter, speak on September 12th, we are most impressed with the scope and thoroughness of this investigation.
BC must bring these conclusions into reality.
We are especially concerned about:
1. Easy public access to current and accurate information on all three levels of seniors' care, including results of all inspections, wait times and how to get fee reductions.
2. Expand Home Care services up to a daily cost equal to that in Assisted Living. Cover all services necessary to keep someone safely living at home.
3. Assisted Living residents must be covered by either the Residential Tenancy Act, or another law that protects them at least as well.
4. Put all Residential Care facilities under the same regulations so all BC citizens in these institutions are treated equally.
5. Do unannounced inspections of all residential care and assisted living facilities, including some on evenings and weekends. Make the results public.
6. Seniors need more than 48 hours to decide and move into residential care.
7. Seniors' first three preferences for a residential care facility should be accommodated whenever possible.
8. Health Authorities must stop penalizing seniors who pay for private residential care while waiting for a subsidized bed by lowering their priority.
9. Seniors who accept placement in a facility they do not prefer must be told that this lowers their priority for transfer to the preferred facility, and be told how long a transfer is likely to take.
10. The Ministry must stop charging seniors waiting over 30 days in hospital for residential placement.
11. The Ministry must ensure the Health Authorities meet the guideline of 3.36 daily care hours per resident in residential care by 2014/15. This guideline came from the Ministry promise that 2011 and 2012 fee increases for residential care would go to improve that care.
12. The Ministry needs to set specific and measurable standards for key aspects of residential care, including bathing frequency, dental care, toileting, call bell response times, meal preparation and nutrition, recreation programmes, and culturally appropriate services.
13. The Ministry must establish the staff mix of RN's, LPN's and care aides required and then monitor and enforce these standards and report publicly.
Copies of this letter are available at the Nelson Library, Nelson Credit Union, and Community First Health Co-op Wellness Centre, 518 Lake St., or you can request a copy by emailing email@example.com.
Take a copy and star (*) what is most important to you. You can also add your individual concerns.
We encourage the public to let the Ministry of Health know your thoughts about 'Getting it Right for Seniors" in the Kootenays.
Pegasis McGauley, (age 70)
Chair, Nelson Area Society for Health.