Time to move beyond COVID-19 and fix long-term care in B.C.: advocacy group | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Time to move beyond COVID-19 and fix long-term care in B.C.: advocacy group

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February 18, 2021 - 6:00 PM

COVID-19 may have highlighted the failings of B.C.’s long-term care system but the problems were there long before the pandemic hit a year ago.

It was those systemic problems that propelled a group of activists to form Action for Reform of Residential Care last year and draft a report on changes that need to be made in the system.

The release of that report was planned for last fall but the provincial election and a spike in COVID-19 cases in long-term care facilities delayed it until yesterday, Feb. 17.

“Our main recommendation is that government strike a multi-stakeholder task force, chaired by the seniors advocate, to create a post-COVID provincial action plan,” spokesperson Dr. Penny MacCourt stated in a news release.

The non-profit group is made up of clinicians, researchers, family members, staff, former staff and people who have been involved in various parts of the long-term care system.

READ MORE: Want changes to B.C.’s long term care system? Talk to this doctor

It circulated the report and garnered the support form a long list of organizations before submitting it to the Ministry of Health and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Other recommendations include providing an adequate number of “well trained and well supported” workers with ongoing training opportunities.

It also wants the government to increase on-site dietary, recreation, physiotherapy, occupational and social work services.

It wants provincial regulations put in place to require family councils in all long-term care facilities that are supported by regional coordinators.

It also wants increased accountability for care of residents and the spending of public funds.

“Although the B.C. government has made strides in stabilizing and supporting the frontline workforce and has developed an on-the-job training program for care aides, there is much more that must be done,” Dr. MacCourt said in the news release. “It’s not enough to make small, piecemeal changes to today’s failed model of long-term care — instead a holistic approach is needed.”

See the report here.

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