Seniors care providers ask Dr. Bonnie Henry to support plan to allow family visits

Burnaby, B.C. (June 18, 2020): The organization representing the majority of B.C.’s long-term care and assisted living operators is appealing to Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry to permit family members to visit with their loved ones in care homes provided measures are taken to mitigate risk. In a correspondence to Dr. Henry, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) asked the province’s top doctor to support a three-point plan that will not compromise workplace safety nor impact the provision of direct care.

“B.C. has set itself apart by bending the curve on the infection rate of COVID-19,” says Mike Klassen, Acting CEO of BC Care Providers Association. “We credit in part swift action by Dr. Bonnie Henry to end non-essential visits to our care homes last spring. But after being disconnected from their loved ones for several months, residents and families are demanding that we find a way to reinstate visits at care homes.”

BCCPA’s three-point plan will require action by the BC Centre for Disease Control and the province’s Ministry of Health. Care providers are asking for funding to increase staffing levels to manage visitations and scheduling. Additional resources are also required to ensure there is an adequate supply of PPE for use by families and visitors. As well, care providers are asking for time to prepare staff to enhance health and safety protocols to accommodate the increased family visits.

“We understand that families are anxious to see their loved ones, but opening up to visits cannot happen overnight,” says Klassen. “Care providers will need time to work closely with the Provincial Health Office, Ministry of Health and our health authorities to ensure residents and staff are kept safe and risks are minimized.

“Furthermore, care home operators will need support to ensure that visitors comply with basic safety procedures and the order. This will require clear direction and a mandate from Dr. Henry and the regional health authorities.”

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On March 12, 2020, BCCPA wrote Dr. Henry to request the end of non-essential visits to care homes and require that staff only work at a single site. Both recommendations were subsequently enforced by provincial health orders. Though COVID-19 has led to devastating losses for many B.C. families, the “Team BC” approach between government stakeholders and care providers has helped our province to maintain among the lowest fatality rates for worldwide jurisdictions with 5 million or higher.

“As B.C. faces the prospect of a ‘second wave’ of the novel coronavirus,” adds Klassen. “We can learn from our experiences so far, adopt new ways to keep those family connections in our care homes intact, while finding methods to address the workload challenges that are associated with the sector’s labour shortages.”

Listen: BC Care Providers Association is now asking Dr. Bonnie Henry to support plans to allow family visits at care homes

Acting CEO Mike Klassen appeared on the Lynda Steele Show on Thursday to discuss BCCPA’s request to Dr. Henry to allow family members to visit with their loved ones in care homes. Listen to the full interview below.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Rumana D’Souza-Garcin
Acting Manager of Communications
(778) 681-4859
rumana@bccare.ca 

About BC Care Providers Association

Established in 1977, BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) is the leading voice for B.C.’s continuing care sector. Our growing membership base includes over 380 long-term care, assisted living, home care, home support, and commercial members from across British Columbia. Through its operating arm EngAge BC, the organization represents independent living, as well as private pay assisted living, long-term care and home health services.

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