Majority of BC Seniors Happy with Care Homes

An in-depth survey into the satisfaction of seniors with their care homes in British Columbia has shown over half of seniors consider the homes very good or excellent.

The survey, which was undertaken by the Office of the Seniors Advocate, found that 83 per cent of seniors felt the home care staff knew what they were doing and 80 per cent of respondents stated they were getting the services they need.

In addition, 86 per cent signified they felt they were treated with respect by the staff. Only four out of 10 residents in the care home did not want to be there.

According to the Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, the organization felt strongly that they wanted to hear from all seniors about their experiences.

“We have an obligation, I think, to ensure that these people living in our care facilities, which are publicly regulated and publicly funded, are enjoying the best possible quality of life that they can give their individual circumstances.”

Family members were also interviewed for the report and most indicated they felt good about the care home decision, with 88 per cent responding they felt they were involved in decisions about their relative. As well, 88 per cent stated they were satisfied with how the staff has addressed their concerns.

 

Room for growth

While the majority of respondents signalled they were happy with their care home there were some areas of care that could be improved, the survey found.

Residents reported they felt they did not get to bathe or shower as often as they would like while one-third indicated they were not getting the help they need at mealtimes. As well, 60 per cent of residents indicated they rarely or never get their favourite food and, 31 per cent said they do not get to eat when they want.

However, Mackenzie said one of the most concerning complaints was the lack of social connection seniors felt in their care homes. Nearly half of respondents said they did not have a close friend in the facility (46 per cent) and many felt there is no one to do things with (45 per cent).

“Forty-five per cent said there is nobody here I have anything in common with basically,” she explained. “One of the things we do is we say is people have to go live in a care home because they are lonely at home. Well, they are lonely in the care homes.”

The results of the survey prompted the organization to make some recommendations to care homes:

  • Increase staffing levels in the care facilities
  • Increase flexibility when and how care is delivered
  • Increase activities for residents, particularly in the evening and on weekends
  • Improve physician care by using GPs or nurse practitioners, only 44 per cent of seniors said the medical care was good.
  • Mealtime experiences need to be improved
  • Train staff up in emotional well-being for patients

They also recommended following up with further surveys to see if the results change over time.

“I am hoping that my colleagues in the care field will all step back and we’ll stop trying to defend what we are doing and we’ll start listening to what residents are saying,” Mackenzie added. “It is so many voices. There are so consistent across so many care facilities in all parts of the province it is really a very compelling message.”

The survey took two years to complete and consisted largely of in-person interviews.

Researchers looked at 292 facilities, targeting about 22,000 individuals.

Written by Chandra Lye

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