Establishment of seniors' advocate a positive move, but government
response to ombudsperson's report fails to address need for enforceable
standards of care and minimum staffing levels, says HEU
VANCOUVER, Feb. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - B.C.'s largest health care union says
the establishment of a seniors' advocate, announced today by the
provincial health minister, is long overdue and will improve quality of
care for seniors.
But the Hospital Employees' Union says it is unfortunate that the B.C.
Liberal government won't take clear and immediate steps to implement
the B.C. Ombudsperson's recommendations to establish quality care
standards in residential care facilities.
The ombudsperson has recommended minimum staffing levels and direct care
hours in residential care, as well as specific and objectively
measurable standards for bathing, toileting, dental care and other
aspects of personal care.
But instead of moving to implement these recommendations, the province
has made a vague commitment to standardize benefits and protections by
next year, and to embark on a two-year review of best practices in
HEU secretary-business manager Bonnie Pearson says B.C. Ombudsperson Kim
Carter has provided a detailed roadmap for improvements to seniors'
"But at this point, it does not appear that government is prepared to
commit themselves to many of the specific measures outlined in her
report," says Pearson. "In our view, that's a lost opportunity to
correct some fundamental problems that we face in seniors' care."
Health care workers in residential care identify staffing shortages and
the resulting heavy workloads as the key reason for being unable to
deliver adequate levels of care to residents.
In her report, Carter also noted that the province has not taken steps
to protect those in residential care from the impacts of large-scale
staff replacement and recommended that the health ministry and health
authorities address this issue.
Over the last ten years, large-scale staff turnover has been endemic in
the residential care sector as a result of privatization and
contracting out. Continuity of care for residents has suffered as a
result. But government's action plan on seniors unveiled today fails to
address this issue.
20,000 HEU members work in seniors' care across the province. They are
licensed practical nurses, resident care attendants, activity workers,
rehabilitation assistants and support workers.
SOURCE Hospital Employees' Union
For further information:
Margi Blamey, communications officer, 604-456 7094 (direct), 604-785 5324 (cell)