An Okanagan privately-owned long-term care facility has been temporarily placed under government management due to concerns about the inadequate care of seniors.
The administrator was appointed by Interior Health’s board of directors to manage the day-to-day long-term care operations of Summerland Seniors Village.
Summerland Seniors Village is owned by a Chinese holding company and is operated by West Coast Seniors Housing Management.
After numerous site visits by the Interior Health Authority (IHA), chief medical health officer Dr. Sue Pollock determined that the operator was unable to meet the legislated standards of care for residents, it said in a media release.
“Ensuring that seniors living in publicly funded, long-term care are receiving the high quality, safe and dignified care they need and deserve is Interior Health’s top priority and is at the heart of this decision,” said IHA board chair Dr. Doug Cochrane.
According to a Feb. 10, 2020, inspection report, concerns include neglect of persons in care. The licensing officer uncovered notes of licensed practical nurses sleeping on the job, missed medications and incomplete shift reports.
“Upon review with Director of Care (DOC) it was confirmed that these incidents had not been investigated thoroughly, and employees implicated in these incidents have continued to work without the concerns being addressed,” said the most recent inspection report of the facility.
The inspector said there is no system in place to ensure seniors are not subjected to harmful actions.
“Upon chart audits, it was noted that multiple persons in care had noted bruising to upper arms over a four-month period. This had not been reported by employees to management therefore not investigated until management was made aware,” the February inspection report said.
Other issues range from employees not following the facility’s influenza policy, lack of employee supervision, inadequate record keeping and an ineffective system in place for the management of restraints.
The federal government approved the sale of Vancouver-based Retirement Concepts, one of the biggest senior care providers in B.C., to Chinese insurance giant Anbang in 2017.
In 2018, the Chinese government accused Anbang’s chairman of financial crimes and took direct control of the company.
On Saturday, Chinese officials ended a two-year takeover of Anbang and created Dajia Insurance Group, a firm that absorbed the company’s assets and will be privately owned.
Outside administrators have been appointed to run other Retirement Concepts care homes in Nanaimo, Comox and Victoria.
“It’s obviously an unusual step,” said B.C.’s Health Minister Adrian Dix. “I believe since the act came into force, it’s only happened six times, so this is the fourth time this happened in the last short period of time.”
Of the 1,641 publicly funded beds within Retirement Concepts facilities, 511 beds are now under provincial control, or 31 per cent of the company.
“We are obviously very concerned by that,” Dix said. “It is not acceptable to me, I don’t think it is acceptable to the people of British Columbia.”
As for the future of the Summerland facility, IHA’s Vanda Urban will take the reins for a period of six months, subject to change if the conditions warrant it.
Urban has worked in health care for 35 years, 21 of those years in long-term care in B.C. She most recently held the position of IHA’s director of long-term care and has been involved in the recent quality reviews at the Summerland location.
Summerland Seniors Village has 112 long-term care beds.
Interior Health publicly funds 75 of the beds. Twelve beds are currently closed to admissions.
West Coast Seniors Housing Management operates two other long-term care facilities in Interior Health — one in Kamloops and one in Williams Lake.
IHA said it does not have similar quality or licensing concerns with these sites.
In 2013, an administrator was appointed at Summerland Seniors Village for four months when the facility was under different ownership.
You can read the full February 2020 inspection report here.