Review launched into outbreaks in long-term care after hundreds of deaths
VANCOUVER -- It’s an unusual ring.
Perhaps not expensive, but priceless to Bernadette Cheung.
That’s because it belonged to her grandmother who died last month.
“She was a loving person and she had a really big heart,” said Cheung.
Cheung’s grandma is one of 41 residents at Little Mountain Place who have lost their lives during B.C.’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak.
“Every time family members questioned what is being done and why is the spread so severe, we were just told strict protocols were in place, (Vancouver Coastal Health) has brought in support staff, infection control experts…but we were never provided detailed explanations of why this could have happened,” Cheung said.
“I don’t feel confident that Little Mountain Place management even understands themselves why this happened, which is really distressing and disturbing," she added. "If they don’t know exactly what happened themselves, how can they prevent this from happening again in the future?"
Cheung hopes some of her questions will be answered in a review by the B.C. Seniors Advocate.
Isobel Mackenzie is now looking into all care homes in the province, but specifically those that failed to contain outbreaks and faced devastating consequences. Those include Little Mountain Place, Langley Lodge, Tabor Village and Lynn Valley Care Centre.
“We need to look at where we could have done things either differently, more quickly and apply that to the next time,” Mackenzie said in an interview with CTV News.
She says the review will look at everything from the effectiveness of screening to the response from the local health authority.
Mackenzie says the second wave of the pandemic in B.C. has been much worse than she expected.
“I think we would all agree that wave two challenged B.C. to the extent that it challenged Ontario, Quebec and Alberta," she said.
“At the peak of wave one, we had 24 care homes in outbreak. We …more than double that many in the peak of wave two.”
Mackenzie believes the province wasn't prepared for just how hard the second wave would impact the long-term care system.
Meanwhile, Cheung says she’s angry and frustrated at the lack of answers from her grandmother's care home about why seniors were not better protected.
“I have requested Little Mountain Place to do an investigation also but I heard a non-committal response and essentially was just brushed off,” she said.
CTV News called Little Mountain but did not hear back.