Vancouver Island health authority staff move into 2 seniors' homes over care concerns

Concerns over quality of care and staffing levels have prompted Island Health to move its own staff into two seniors’ homes on Vancouver Island.

On Saturday, the health authority began temporarily supporting existing staff at Selkirk Place in Victoria.

Similar support has been in place for several weeks at Nanaimo Seniors Village, the health authority said in an announcement Friday, and will remain there indefinitely.

Staff are mandated to stay in place for up to 90 days when called in to support a care home operator, Island Health’s seniors health and primary program executive director Mark Blandford said.

“Providing high quality, safe, dignified care for seniors in long-term care is a priority for Island Health,” Blandford said in the health authority’s statement.

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix said the ministry supports the move, which will allow the operators in Victoria and Nanaimo to “develop long-term staffing solutions.”

B.C. seniors will no longer have to accept first available long-term care bed

“Our job is to put the health and care of residents in long-term care facilities first and that is what we are doing,” Dix said.

Both facilities are privately owned and offer both publicly-subsidized and private units. Selkirk Place contains 217 long-term care beds, while Nanaimo Seniors Village houses 150 units.

The move comes two weeks after an Island Health administrator was appointed to temporarily oversee operations at Comox Valley Seniors Village in Courtenay following a series of complaints over quality of care.

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The health authority said then that the 136-bed facility’s private operator failed to meet strict conditions placed on it back in June.

Selkirk Place has also seen issues in the past.

In 2013, nine people died and 150 patients and staff members fell ill after a norovirus outbreak that impacted the entire facility.

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