Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors advocate, was in Nanaimo on Saturday to speak about her office’s Better Seniors’ Care report. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors advocate, was in Nanaimo on Saturday to speak about her office’s Better Seniors’ Care report. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)

Seniors’ advocate wonders if fines would help end crisis in care homes

Isobel Mackenzie speaks at long-term care crisis town hall meeting in Nanaimo

A Nanaimo woman speaking at a town hall on the crisis in long-term care says her father spent his final days in avoidable suffering.

Norma Steven said her father, Russell Cooley, died last November after being admitted to hospital with a “deep ulcerated, infected wound on his buttock.” He didn’t suffer from dementia and used a wheelchair and required extended care because of “severe arthritis.” It is Steven’s belief that he could have lived “happily a few more years” with better care.

RELATED: For-profit senior care homes spend less on staff, says advocate

“Arthritis was not the cause of his death … Instead of experiencing compassion and the expertise that is essential for the well-being of long-term care residents, my father was robbed of the time and the little pleasures that were left for him,” said Steven. “He was robbed of any human dignity by being routinely left unbathed for weeks. He was robbed of human dignity by being left in a wheelchair and unchanged from soiled undergarments.”

Steven said her family made suggestions to staff at Nanaimo Seniors Village, asked questions and offered to help. The situation has to change, she said.

She made the comments Saturday during a town hall meeting in Nanaimo hosted by Seniors in Care Crisis, a group concerned about quality of long-term seniors’ care.

RELATED: VIHA puts Nanaimo seniors home under administration

In recent months, the B.C. government has assumed control of Retirement Concepts facilities across the province, including Nanaimo Seniors Village, due to what the government says is an inability to meet provincial care standards.

Isobel Mackenzie, B.C. seniors’ advocate, cited her recently released report on the contracted long-term care sector in B.C. when addressing the audience at Saturday’s gathering. One of her findings was that while non- and for-profit care homes receive the same level of public funding on average, non-profits surpass direct-care hour targets by an extra 80,000 hours. For-profits fail to deliver 207,000 direct-care hours for which they are funded, the report said.

Revenue from government is guaranteed and there is no financial penalties for non-compliance, said Mackenzie, and she wondered if there should be.

“I drive very, very carefully on the highway now because I know that if you exceed the speed limit, you are financially penalized … We have to look at whether it is now time to do financial penalties for, what I could call, consistent and persistent non-compliance,” said Mackenzie. “It wouldn’t replace the ability to put in an administrator, but I think some of the people in this room are probably asking themselves if certain operators had been starting to receive fines of $2,000 a day, would they have been able to find a remedy before the need to put an administrator in place?”

Oversight and transparency are also needed, Mackenzie said, starting with public reporting of the expense reports that she reviews.

”I think that that would drive a lot of change because people like you would demand it and you would be armed with factual information to back up what you are experiencing,” said Mackenzie. “Because I think that is one of the frustrations that a number of people … have. When they talk to the care home, they get explanations and they initially are satisfied with the explanations because they sound reasonable, but if you have the context and the information, you might realize that explanation is not that reasonable.”

For more information, go to www.seniorsincarecrisis.ca.

Retirement Concepts was contacted for comment, but has not responded yet.


More from the News Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter

seniors housing

Just Posted

Al Kohut, owner of the new photographers GALLERY, checks out Looking Back by David Bradt. The photo printed on canvas is among 50 images featured in the Birds on the Wild Side exhibition showing until July 3. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Photo gallery in Sidney plucks out top bird photos

Birds on the Wild Side show running at the new photographers GALLERY until July 3

A bathtub kitchen garden is part of the lineup for this year’s Teeny Tiny Garden Tour to benefit Victoria Hospice. (Screenshot/Teeny Tiny Garden Tour)
Virtual garden tour for Victoria Hospice features trio of back yards

Online tour is free; calendar purchase and donation options raise money for the cause

The Town of Sidney supports efforts to rename Reay Creek to KELSET, its traditional SENCOTEN name. (Black Press Media file photo)
Town of Sidney signs off on Reay Creek name change to KELSET

Name change does not affect surrounding parkland, but public supports doing so

Google Maps shows significant traffic backups after a crash reported shortly before noon on Father’s Day, June 20. (Google Maps)
Saanich crash closes lane of McKenzie Avenue

Police say there were injuries, traffic is impacted

Hot rods, rad rods, muscle and sports cars spanning the decades made their way in a parade from North Saanich to Victoria on June 19. (Kiernan Green/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Classic cars cruise Saanich Peninsula in advance of Father’s Day

Retirement home residents from North Saanich to Victoria treated to a spectacle of hot rides

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Most Read