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Residents in Kelowna independent living facility upset over licensing change

Click to play video: 'A licensing change at a Kelowna independent living facility has residents upset over losing certain freedoms' A licensing change at a Kelowna independent living facility has residents upset over losing certain freedoms
Residents of A small independent living facility in Kelowna aren't happy with changes recently introduced by Interior Health, changes that are meant to boost their quality of living. McGivney Manor is slated to become a long-term care home. And while its new designation will mean enhanced support services, residents say they'll lose their independence. Klaudia Van Emmerik explains – Feb 2, 2021

McGivney Manor has been providing independent living to people with physical challenges for more than three decades.

But the Kelowna care home will soon operate as a long-term care home, and that’s not sitting well with the six residents who live there.

“Our day-to-day lifestyle will change drastically,” said resident Terri Fichter. “Our home environment will be totally changed and it will be more of a nursing environment.”

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Fichter has lived at McGivney Manor for 30 years and enjoys the freedoms of being able to do her own grocery shopping and choose her own meals, something she says residents will lose once the facility becomes long term.

“We will not have a choice on food and what meals we would like,” Fichter said.

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Currently, residents do their own shopping and home support staff, provided by Interior Health Authority (IHA), help cook food on site.

Residents also worry about their laundry being done off-site.

“It’s taking away a lot of what we feel are our rights,” said Colleen Landon, another resident at McGivney Manor.

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The residents are also concerned about potentially having to pay more once their home is designated long term.

Up until now, McGivney Manor has operated as an independent, unlicensed facility, but IHA said provincial legislation dictates that it must be licensed now because the level of care needed there has grown significantly.

“The care needs of the individuals have increased, and so, with that, it requires more staffing, increased level of attention to their needs and that usually then drives and dictates a license to be required in order to operate the facility,” said Dr. Shallen Letwin, IHA’s vice-president of clinical services.

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According to residents, the licensing change was brought on with little notice and no consultation.

“We are not being consulted at all,” Landon told Global News. “We feel like we’re being told, dictated to.”

But IHA said it has been engaging with residents and continues to listen to their feedback.

It emphasized however that it is bound by provincial legislation.

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“Interior Health, within the legislation, will do as much as they can to meet the needs that they expressed and so we just want to continue to hear from them and we will adjust accordingly,” Letwin said.

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Under the long-term care model, IHA said support services will be enhanced.

“Residents in a long-term care facility will have the staff and 24/7 support, plus professional nursing support,” said Letwin.

“They will have their medication managed in a safe and appropriate way, they will have individual care plans.”

But residents said they just want the status quo.

“If there is some agency in the community that might like to take this on, and still keep a lot of the benefits that we have, we would love that,” Landon said.

IHA is in the process of finishing the licensing application, meaning McGivney Manor could be designated as long-term care at some point in February.

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