'It's the worst I've ever seen it': Resident care 'suffering' at B.C. facility because of staff shortages
From the outside, Cranbrook’s Joseph Creek Care Village appears to be a well-maintained facility.
But inside, pictures seem to show a place in need of repairs and paint, with damaged and stained furniture.
“The chairs downstairs … when you get within a foot, two feet of them you’re overwhelmed with the smell of urine,” said long-term care resident Dianna Green.
But Green, 58, says it’s not the upkeep that most concerns her. It’s the staffing shortages, which she says are pushing the home into a “crisis.”
“It’s the worst I’ve ever seen it,” she told CTV News Vancouver.
Earlier this week, she says, there was only one licensed practical nurse for 51 residents. She says at times, residents like herself aren’t getting medications on time.
“It took me 45 minutes and I was in extreme, extreme pain and spasms,” Green said. “A few days before that I had to wait over an hour and a half for a scheduled pain medication.”
According to Green, there is often only one care aide, rather than two, in the units. When that’s the case and residents call for help, she says, it takes too long for someone to respond.
“It’s awful. It’s haunting … You can hear a person saying, ‘Help me. Help me.’ And there’s nobody around,” Green said, choking back tears.
She says residents are supposed to be bathed once a week, but if there’s not enough workers some residents will go two weeks.
CTV News spoke with several workers at the care home. None of them were willing to be identified in an interview, saying they would lose their jobs. However, they say understaffing has left them unable to fully do their work and that resident care is suffering.
Staff tell CTV News that:
- Medications are not always given on time or might be missed because it would be too late to repeat a second dose
- Wound care and vitals sometimes aren’t being done because there isn’t time
- Physio isn’t always done
- Units are temporarily being left empty if there is only one worker and they have to go to another unit to assist.
The operator of the privately run facility declined an interview with CTV News, but did acknowledge in a phone call that they have had staffing issues.
In a statement, the operator wrote that due to privacy issues, it couldn’t speak to any specific allegations.
“Golden Life Management, in conjunction with Interior Health Authority (IHA) and licencing has looked into the comments and complaints that have been brought to our attention. We take these matters very seriously as the care and well-being of our residents is of utmost importance,” the statement reads.
“We are confident in the safe, quality care that we offer all residents at Joseph Creek as well as all of our Golden Life Management Villages,” the statement concludes.
Health Minister Adrian Dix has promised to look into the situation.
“What we’ve done in other cases is to provide some supports for staff,” he said. “It’s very challenging right now across the health-care system because we’re seeing very significant increases in demand.”
In a statement, Interior Health told CTV News:
“Some substantiated concerns were identified at Joseph Creek in the summer of 2020, at which time we increased inspections and supports for this care home. Many of those concerns were addressed by the operator over the next year. “
The statement also says that Interior Health continues to “monitor and work with the operator to ensure the operator has appropriate and sustainable processes in place to keep in compliance with the (Community Care and Assisted Living) Act and (Residential Care) Regulations.”
Inspection reports for the home have noted multiple infractions in the past.
Meanwhile, Green says she hopes that help comes soon because staff can’t keep up.
“It’s like a hamster on a wheel,” she said. “They’re just running and running.”
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