Island Health administrator appointed at Selkirk Seniors Village

Island Health’s Board of Directors has temporarily appointed an administrator to manage and oversee the day-to-day operations at Selkirk Seniors Village in Victoria.

“Island Health has a responsibility to ensure seniors living in long-term care homes are receiving safe and dignified care,” said Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair. “That is why the Board of Directors has taken action, appointing an administrator at Selkirk Seniors Village to ensure this operator brings the level of care up to legislated standards.”

The Board’s decision to appoint an administrator was based upon the recommendation of South Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Murray Fyfe. Dr. Fyfe’s recommendation was informed by a detailed report from Island Health’s Community Care Facilities Licensing program, following a diligent administrative process involving numerous routine and complaint-based licensing inspections.

Island Health’s Licensing program operates at arm’s length from the health authority and reports directly to the Office of the Chief Medical Health Officer.

Despite significant and ongoing efforts by Island Health’s Licensing and Long-term Care programs, Dr. Fyfe concluded the operator was not taking sufficient steps to correct areas of non-compliance and ensure the health and safety of residents.

Licensing’s report noted the operator’s inability to submit an acceptable health and safety plan, while Dr. Fyfe’s report outlined concerns with insufficient staffing, a lack of overall cleanliness at the site and the operator moving too slowly towards full compliance with legislated standards of care.

The administrator will report to the Island Health Board of Directors. The individual will be responsible for the operation and management of the care home, supporting critical functions including:

•    Staff recruitment and retention strategies
•    Mentoring to support training and education of staff
•    Oversight to ensure appropriate care plans for residents
•    Support in the creation of effective and achievable health and safety plans
•    Ensuring compliance with legislated standards of care

“The thorough investigation by the independent Licensing program has given Island Health detailed insight into the operator’s failures at this site,” said Mark Blandford, Executive Director – Primary Care and Seniors Health. “Island Health will work with the administrator and operator to understand and correct the causes of these issues and develop sustainable plans to return the care delivered to legislated and contracted standards.”

The Board of Directors appointed Susan Abermann as the administrator for a period of six months, subject to adjustment if conditions warrant, effective December 12, 2019. Ms. Abermann has a 25-year career in seniors care in British Columbia, including serving as Island Health’s lead for long-term care services.

Ms. Abermann was previously appointed as a temporary administrator for a six-month period at Comox Valley Seniors Village and Nanaimo Seniors Village, sites owned and operated by an operator within the Retirement Concepts corporate group. Ms. Abermann will continue in those roles and will be supported in her work by full-time, on-site managers at all three sites.

Selkirk Seniors Village is a privately owned 217-bed long-term care home operated by Pacific Reach Seniors Housing Management operating as West Coast Seniors Housing Management, which is part of the Retirement Concepts group of companies. Island Health publicly funds 185 of the beds. 

The Medical Health Officer’s report to the Board of Directors is posted at

Media contact:
Cheryl Bloxham