Island Health is ending the temporary appointment of an administrator to oversee the day-to-day operations of Nanaimo Seniors Village and Comox Valley Seniors Village, while adding new accountabilities and oversight to ensure quality care continues.
On July 29, Island Health’s Board of Directors made the decision to end the administrator’s appointment, after reviewing recommendations from Medical Health Officers Dr. Charmaine Enns and Dr. Paul Hasselback.
“The significant step to appoint an administrator was made with the single-minded goal to address serious concerns identified by Vancouver Island Medical Health Officers,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “It is my expectation that the progress made by the administrator will continue under the operator. To that end, Vancouver Island Health Authority has imposed new contract requirements to increase financial and clinical oversight of the residence. We have, and will continue to put the health and safety of residents first before any other consideration.”
“Quality of life for residents in long-term care is paramount,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “Under the leadership of the Board appointed administrator a structure has been put into place to enable the operator to sustain the level of care and process improvements made to ensure the dignity and safety of residents.”
In his update on the status of Nanaimo Seniors Village, Dr. Hasselback recommended the administrator’s appointment end on July 31, noting all outstanding areas of non-compliance have been addressed and criteria to transition management of the facility to the operator were satisfied.
Specific improvements at Nanaimo Seniors Village include:
- Improved communication to residents, families and staff
- Implementation of required staffing increases
- Redesigned staffing model to ensure delivery of direct care hours matches funding
- Increased care hours for Residential Care Aide positions
- A strengthened leadership team
- A framework to ensure organizational policies are properly reviewed and implemented
Dr. Enns, in her update to the board, stated the administrator was no longer required at Comox Valley Seniors Village, noting a comprehensive management transition plan was in place and all key management positions are filled and have demonstrated experience in those roles.
Specific improvements at Comox Valley Seniors Village include:
- Implementation of a new on-call policy providing support to staff at all times
- Consistent protocols for staff around systems and job routines
- Increase staffing levels in nursing, therapy services and support services
- Improved communication with families, residents and staff through the creation of a family contact database, regular written updates and monthly Family Council meetings
- Coordinated processes to ensure staff receive appropriate guidance and ongoing education
Island Health’s Long-term Care program is also taking steps to ensure the improvements made at the Nanaimo and Comox Valley Seniors Villages are sustained. Changes imposed on the operator’s contract are designed to strengthen a redesigned quality assurance process developed by Island Health.
The contract amendments include a requirement that the operator:
- Maintain the budget established by the administrator for at least two fiscal years
- The budget cannot be changed without Island Health’s approval
- Submit a plan committing to investments in essential equipment necessary to ensure the safety of residents and staff
- Be subject to new financial recoveries for non-delivery of direct care hours and support service hours
- Submit to quarterly independent financial audits to ensure public funding is being appropriately used to deliver care that meets legislated standards
- Provide a monthly staffing report showing all vacancies and new hires
- Comply with Island Health’s wound care practice
- Comply with Island Health’s policy related to appropriate additional client charges
- Notify Island Health of all senior leadership and department leadership changes
Further, Island Health is increasing the number of staff responsible for oversight to include on-site audits of performance.
The Community Care Facilities Licensing program will continue to monitor the Licensee’s compliance with the requirements of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Residential Care Regulation.
Susan Abermann was initially appointed as administrator at Comox Valley Seniors Village on September 30, 2019 for a period of at least six months, ending March 31, 2020. The appointment by the Board was based on a recommendation from Dr. Enns and followed investigation and reporting by the Licensing program. In March, Ms. Abermann’s appointment was extended to July 31.
On November 27, 2019, Ms. Abermann was appointed as administrator at Nanaimo Seniors Village for a period of at least six months, ending May 27, 2020. The appointment by the Board was based on a recommendation from Dr. Hasselback and followed investigation and reporting by the Licensing program. In May, Ms. Abermann’s appointment was extended to July 31.
Nanaimo Seniors Village is a privately owned 150-bed long-term care facility operated by West Coast Seniors Housing Management LLP, which is part of the Retirement Concepts group of companies. Island Health publicly funds 134 of the beds.
Comox Valley Seniors Village is a privately owned 136-bed long-term care facility operated by West Coast Seniors Housing Management LLP, which is part of the Retirement Concepts group of companies. Island Health publicly funds 120 of the beds.
Backgrounders summarizing the Medical Health Officer’s recommendations to the Board: