A recent report from B.C.’s Office of the Seniors Advocate on abuse among residents, recommends a review of staffing levels in care homes.
Isobel Mackenzie’s report covers 422 incidents of aggression between residents in provincial care homes in 2015 and found most occurred in facilities with many seniors with complex needs.
The report says staff in homes with more incidents spent less time providing direct care, but those facilities also included more residents with psychiatric diagnoses and more anti-psychotic drug use.
“Although many of these incidents follow no obvious pattern, there are still some particular commonalities that we feel are important to scrutinize further,” Mackenzie added.
The report also compared data on the facilities, including medication use, incidence of dementia, funded care hours and residents’ overall health status.
It says some care homes did not meet minimum staff-time guidelines and applauds B.C.’s Health Minister, Terry Lake’s support of a systemic review.
The Hospital Employees’ Union said in a news release it supports the advocate’s call for a review and is pushing the government to ensure all facilities are funded to at least basic staffing levels.
The report also recommended more training for dealing with aggressive behaviour, including establishing standardized follow-up protocol.
The report found a third of all incidents took place within a resident’s room. The aggressor was a man 61 percent of the time and 69 percent of the victims were women.
With the oldest population in the country, there are many services for seniors in Parksville Qualicum Beach.
Society of Organized Services’ (SOS) Lissa Alexander said they offer various forms of support and assistance, but it is usually more about financial issues.
“Our seniors co-ordinator Dawn Barry doesn’t hear about seniors experiencing violence very much,” Alexander said, adding that they direct any reports of violence to the appropriate agencies like the Ministry of Health or RCMP.
She said the SOS program Seniors Are Talking provides a safe and comfortable place for social interaction, fun outings and education, and speakers have addressed elder abuse in the past.
For more on the SOS visit www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093.
The seniors advocate’s report doesn’t say where the 422 incidents took place. The major local care homes contacted by The NEWS declined to comment.