Administrator appointment ends at Nanaimo, Comox Valley care homes, Island Health says oversight strengthened

Administrator appointment ends at Nanaimo, Comox Valley care homes, Island Health says oversight strengthened

Island Health said Friday it is ending the temporary appointment of an administrator to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Nanaimo Seniors Village and Comox Valley Seniors Village.

According to Island Health, there are new accountabilities and oversight to ensure quality care in the care homes.

“Quality of life for residents in long-term care is paramount,” Leah Hollins, Island Health Board Chair, said in a statement.

“Under the leadership of the board appointed administrator, a structure has been put into place to enable the operator to sustain the level of care and process improvements made to ensure the dignity and safety of residents.”

In September 2019, the Island Health Board of Directors announced it had temporarily appointed an administrator for the Comox Valley Seniors Village due to the operator’s inability to meet care expectations.

Susan Abermann was initially appointed as the administrator at Comox Valley Seniors Village on September 30, 2019, for a period of at least six months, ending March 31, 2020. In March, Abermann’s appointment was extended to July 31.

In November 2019, Abermann was also appointed as the administrator was for Nanaimo Seniors Village, for a period of at least six months following concerns about the quality of care and condition of the facility. In May, Abermann’s appointment for Nanaimo Seniors Village was extended to July 31.

On July 29, Island Health’s Board of Directors made the decision to end the administrator’s appointment, after reviewing recommendations from Island Health Medical Health Officers Dr. Charmaine Enns and Dr. Paul Hasselback.

“The significant step to appoint an administrator was made with the single-minded goal to address serious concerns identified by Vancouver Island Medical Health Officers,” Adrian Dix, Minister of Health, said in a statement.

“It is my expectation that the progress made by the administrator will continue under the operator. To that end, Vancouver Island Health Authority has imposed new contract requirements to increase financial and clinical oversight of the residence. We have, and will continue to put the health and safety of residents first before any other consideration.”

In his update on the status of Nanaimo Seniors Village, Dr. Hasselback recommended the administrator’s appointment end on July 31, saying all outstanding areas of non-compliance have been addressed and criteria to transition management of the facility to the operator were satisfied.

According to Hasselback, the improvements at Nanaimo Seniors Village include:

  • Improved communication to residents, families and staff;
  • Implementation of required staffing increases;
  • A redesigned staffing model to ensure delivery of direct care hours matches funding;
  • Increased care hours for Residential Care Aide positions;
  • A strengthened leadership team;
  • A framework to ensure organizational policies are properly reviewed and implemented.

In Dr. Enns’ update to the board, she stated the administrator was no longer required at Comox Valley Seniors Village, saying there was a comprehensive management transition plan in place and all key management positions were filled, with demonstrated experience in those roles.

According to Enns, the specific improvements at Comox Valley Seniors Village include:

  • Implementation of a new on-call policy providing support to staff at all times;
  • Consistent protocols for staff around systems and job routines;
  • Increase staffing levels in nursing, therapy services and support services;
  • Improved communication with families, residents and staff through the creation of a family contact database, regular written updates and monthly family council meetings;
  • Coordinated processes to ensure staff receive appropriate guidance and ongoing education.

The Comox Valley Seniors Village, located in Courtenay, and the Nanaimo Seniors Village are both owned by Retirement Concepts. They are operated by West Coast Seniors Housing Management. Island Health funds 134 of the beds at Nanaimo Seniors Village and 120 beds at Comox Valley Seniors Village.

Retirement Concepts was acquired by Cedar Tree in 2017, part of the Angbang Insurance Group, whose founder was convicted of fraud in China in May 2018.

Island Health says its long-term Care program is also taking steps to ensure the improvements made at the Nanaimo and Comox Valley Seniors Villages are sustained, with changes on the operator’s contract.

The contract amendments include requirements that the operator:

  • Maintain the budget established by the administrator for at least two fiscal years. The budget cannot be changed without Island Health’s approval;
  • Submit a plan committing to investments in essential equipment necessary to ensure the safety of residents and staff;
  • Be subject to new financial recoveries for non-delivery of direct care hours and support service hours;
  • Submit to quarterly independent financial audits to ensure public funding is being appropriately used to deliver care that meets legislated standards;
  • Provide a monthly staffing report showing all vacancies and new hires;
  • Comply with Island Health’s wound care practice;
  • Comply with Island Health’s policy related to appropriate additional client charges;
  • Notify Island Health of all senior leadership and department leadership changes.

Island Health is also increasing the number of staff responsible for oversight to include on-site audits of performance.

And B.C.’s Community Care Facilities Licensing program will continue to monitor the licensee’s compliance with the requirements of the Community Care and Assisted Living Act and the Residential Care Regulation, according to Island Health.


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