BCCPA responds to community concerns in Sechelt

In a recent letter to the editor, Gayle Duteil, the head of BC’s Nurses Union, alleged that private care providers in B.C. provide “inferior” care compared to non-profit and government-owned sites. The BCCPA subsequently reached out to the Duteil to refute this claim and point out that in many cases it is actually BCNU members who deliver the care referenced in her letter.

Sechelt, BC will soon be home to a new publicly-funded care home that will expand services on the Sunshine Coast to meet the needs of an aging population

“It can be quite demoralizing to frontline staff, many of whom are unionized, when they hear senior leadership state they are providing inferior care just because they happen to work for a private sector operator,” says Daniel Fontaine, CEO for the BCCPA. “This is particularly true when there is no solid evidence to back up this claim and when the information put out to the public is done so out of context.”

“I’ve met many unionized staff including nurses across this province who work for private care homes and they do an amazing job,” says Fontaine. “If we’re going to encourage more people to consider making a career in the continuing care sector, it is going to be much more challenging if they continue to read those types of headlines.”

The BCCPA did submit a letter to the editor of the Coast Reporter newspaper in Sechelt – see it published online here. What follows is a copy of that submission which was published online this week. The letter was written by Mike Klassen, Vice-President, Communications and Stakeholder Relations.

+++

In response to Gayle Duteil, president of the BC Nurses’ Union (“Ownership matters,” Letters, May 12), BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) would like to set the record straight on information circulated by organizations that we think are causing fear and uncertainty within the Sunshine Coast community.

Firstly, we refute that private care is “inferior.” Studies cited by BCNU and other groups rely largely on evidence from outside B.C. or even Canada to argue their case. Currently there is no specific B.C. data or studies which clearly highlight that private care homes provide inferior quality of care.

In fact, a recent report from Alberta which highlights results of a 2014-15 Long Term Care Family Experience Survey largely debunks this notion, indicating that, in general, no one model type (government, private or non-profit) was better or worse than the others across all key measures of family experience measured.

What should matter above all are excellent health outcomes, not ownership – Mike Klassen, Vice-President, BCCPA

BCCPA has long supported the call for increased funding to meet a minimum standard of 3.36 direct care hours per day for all residential care providers. Recently, the B.C. government answered that call with $500 million in new investments.

What critics neglect to point out is that the level of care, whether in government or non-government care homes, is determined by the health authorities. B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie confirmed this last year when she said, “it’s the health authority [that] has decided this is what they’re going to be funded to provide.”

When Ms. Duteil contrasts the level of physical and occupational therapy provided between public and private care homes, she omits that the latter are not funded to provide the same level of services.

Today in B.C., about 70 per cent of long-term residential care for seniors is delivered by non-government care providers. Removing these private providers out of our mix of care options is not only impractical, it could severely limit the availability of quality seniors care. With our aging population, we will need to make more affordable seniors care available, not less.

Sunshine Coast seniors and their families must be confident that any new care provider in their community will deliver ample, high quality care. This is what our member Trellis Seniors Services has committed to provide.

What should matter above all are excellent health outcomes, not ownership.