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B.C. seniors need more protection as COVID-19 pandemic’s 2nd wave hits: report

Click to play video: 'B.C. report calls on urgent measures to help protect seniors'
B.C. report calls on urgent measures to help protect seniors
With a second wave of the COVID-19 crisis threatening to overwhelm Canada's long-term care and assisted living residences, a new report on B.C.'s pandemic response is calling for urgent measures to protect seniors. Jennifer Palma reports – Nov 19, 2020

An organization representing seniors-care providers in British Columbia has released new recommendations as a second wave of COVID-19 descends on the province.

The BC Care Providers Association, which speaks for long-term care, assisted living, independent living and home health operators, has issued a report examining the response to seniors care during the pandemic.

Read more: COVID-19 outbreak at White Rock care home spreads to 39 people

Association CEO Terry Lake says strong measures have already been implemented by the health ministry, but his organization sees more ways to improve the lives of seniors and caregivers.

Key recommendations include the use of rapid testing protocols and clear guidelines on how essential family caregivers can stay safely connected to their loved ones.

Click to play video: 'Ask an Expert: Senior safety advice'
Ask an Expert: Senior safety advice

The report also calls for better funding and pandemic pay for staff, along with improved mental health and safety programs to ease what Lake says is widespread employee burnout.

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Read more: Long-term care residents would rather see loved ones than be safe from COVID-19, B.C. advocate says

Health industry consultant Howegroup authored the report, which also says the liberties of residents and staff were eroded by a series of public health orders and restrictions on visits to seniors’ facilities.

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“There are many lessons from our experiences during the pandemic so far, and one of them is the need to protect residents’ quality of life during this vulnerable time,” Lake says in a statement.

The report was compiled following a sector-wide consultation of care facilities, staff and residents, using a mix of interviews, roundtables, a member survey and online submissions.

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