Island Health takes over management of Victoria seniors facility following scathing report

Concerns were raised at the Selkirk Seniors Village about cleanliness and staffing

Island Health is taking over a third seniors care facility on Vancouver Island after the management company was not meeting basic standards, according to a scathing health report.

Victoria’s Selkirk Seniors Village at 385 Waterfront Cres. is owned by Retirement Concepts Corporate Group, and specifically run by West Coast Seniors Housing Management (WCSHM), which is part of Retirement Concepts. The company is also responsible for the two other facilities that Island Health took over: the Comox Valley Seniors Village in Courtenay, which Island Health took over on Sept. 30 and the Nanaimo Seniors Village on Nov. 27.

South Island Medical Health Officer Dr. Murray Fyfe recommended the switch after studying a detailed report by Island Health’s Community Care Facilities Licensing Program. The report came forward after a thorough review following several complaints.

READ MORE: Island Health to staff Selkirk Place seniors residence in Victoria

Island Health tried to intervene with the issues before taking over; in October it provided staff members to the Selkirk to bolster what was available. This change, however, was not enough. The reports cited continued issues with staffing, overall cleanliness, and the operator’s inability to submit an acceptable health and safety plan or to fully comply with legislated standards of care.

“The thorough investigation by the independent Licensing Program has given Island Health detailed insight into the operator’s failures at this site,” said Mark Blandford, Executive Director – Primary Care and Seniors Health in a statement. “Island Health will work with the administrator and operator to understand and correct the causes of these issues and develop sustainable plans to return the care delivered to legislated and contracted standards.”

Island Health has appointed Susan Abermann as the administrator for a period of six months at the facility; Abermann was also temporarily appointed administrator at the Courtenay and Nanaimo locations.

WCSHM chief of operations Jennie Deneka said they will work collaboratively with Island Health to improve the situation, and identified “staffing issues” as the largest contributor to the problem.

ALSO READ: Victoria medical building to be demolished for seniors care facility

“We recognize the appointment of an administrator at three sites is unprecedented. It speaks to the staffing crisis that is impacting our sector and the impact it was having on us as the largest care provider in the province,” Deneka said in an emailed statement.

“We are working collaboratively with the administrator, licensing, unions and health authority to address these ongoing challenges. We also support any initiatives the government may undertake to address the broader labour shortage, which has been well documented by the BC Care Providers Association.”

Presently, staff retention has been an issue at Retirement Concepts since wages are lower for staff than those available at unionized branches under Island Health.

“We acknowledge that wage parity is a factor on our ability to recruit and maintain staff, and we are attempting to work with our unions to close that gap,” Deneca said. “We also acknowledge that these issues are having an impact on our ability to meet all compliance standards.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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