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LETTER: Giving seniors in care information to protect themselves

Dear Editor:

This letter will help seniors and their families demand a better quality of care in residential care facilities. It will empower them with the knowledge to fight against abuse and neglect. The government is not upholding their rights to protection outlined in Bill 17, the "Residents Bill of Rights". The following information will enable seniors to make the government and their local Health Authority accountable for their poor quality of care.

Every senior in Residential Care, whether privately owned or government run, whether government subsidized or not, whether governed under the "Hospital Act" or the Community Care and Assisted Living Act (CCALA), are to be protected from abuse and neglect under the "Residents Bill of Rights".

Facilities must meet the test of being "fair, prompt and effective" when dealing with a complaint. Always insist upon an outcome in a specified amount of time. 

If a senior is living in a facility governed by the CCALA, there is a list of 20 Reportable Incidents of which three are, choking, falling and neglect. The facility must employ section 77 of the Act by immediately contacting the seniors’ representative, their nurse and the regional medical health officer. They must also complete an Incident Report Form and send it to the health authority’s Community Care Licensing Office immediately. 

The Patient Care Quality Office will accept complaints only from the senior or their representative. They must contact you with the results within 40 days. This can be confidential if you wish.

The Community Care Licensing Office will process a complaint from anyone, including employees, confidentially. Employees are protected from being fired or penalized in any way under the "Adult Guardianship Act".

Always, always, when making a complaint, ask for the name of your case worker and the case file number. This will indicate that you are expecting a result and increase your chances of getting one. 

If you are still not satisfied call the Ombudsman at:1-800-567-3247 or the Seniors Health Care Support Line at:1-877-952-3181.

I will welcome any letters from people with their own experiences with care facilities. These letters will be used in Legislature to prove that the govt. is not upholding the rights of our seniors. Write Judy Galley at: 2433 Sherry Rd. Sorrento, BC, V0E-2W1.