Maple Ridge Seniors Village is one of five members of the British Columbia Seniors Living Association. (The News files)

BC Seniors Living Association’s Seal of Approval goes digital

Better quality of life the goal for member communities like those in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows

  • May. 10, 2021 12:00 a.m.

Seniors in some privately-owned and operated living communities will have a new standard in safety and quality of life assessments.

The British Columbia Seniors Living Association, BCSLA, has re-invented its Seal of Approval, SoA, quality of assurance program in digital form.

There are five BCSLA member seniors communities across Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows – Chartwell Willow Retirement Community; Maple Ridge Seniors Village; Rivera Sunwood; Royal Crescent Gardens; and The Wesbrooke in Pitt Meadows – representing about 1,000 seniors

The SoA program was started in 2009.

Coonfer describes it like an accreditation or certification program where someone would attend each site and go through a checklist of various activities and quality of life programs, and interview both management and staff.

“It was an effort of the members to hold themselves to the highest standards,” explained BCSLA CEO Lee Coonfer.

Each site assessment would stay at that seniors community in a big binder that would have to be manually updated with procedures or processes.

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“It was a comprehensive program that was effective in the day,” noted Coonfer.

Now, the BCSLA has teamed up with health tech company Think Research, that allows each site, based on the data that they input to the assessment, they receive information back, explained Coonfer. Information, he said, that they can use to benchmark performance and establish continuous improvement – whether that be improvement to the programs and services offered on site, career development provided to staff to keep them engaged and learning, dining services, or innovative practises for renewable energy or composting.

And, said Coonfer, as they were finishing up the design of their new platform, COVID-19 came along, and they were able to adapt the platform so that in real time any new procedures or guidelines announced by the BC Centre for Disease Control in terms of visitation or personal protective equipment are immediately sent to participating sites logged into the assessment tool.

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“It brings us collectively forward together,” said Coonfer.

“We are all hearing the same information at the same time,” he said, ensuring consistent messaging.

And this program is unique to any jurisdiction in Canada, added Coonfer, noting that it has also received endorsement from UBC’s School of Nursing, SFU’s School of Gerontology and AGEWELL, Canada’s national organization promoting innovation in seniors living.

Coonfer hopes by implementing the digital SoA that they uphold and maintain their commitment to regulate themselves in a manner that not only the public finds satisfactory, but the government.

“My hope is at the end of the day, our residents see the quality improvements,” added Coonfer, and their homes become even more vibrant and engaging.

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