Port Alberni long-term care home staff, residents say care declining

Port Alberni long-term care home staff, residents say care declining

Staff and residents of a Port Alberni long-term care home say numerous issues with management have led to low staffing levels that are impacting patient care.

Three residents of the residents at Echo Village, a long-term care home in Port Alberni with 67 rooms, say they’ve noticed residents aren’t being cared for as they should.

“Very short-staffed,” said Bev Allan, a resident.” [They’re] not properly cleaning.”

“My daughter just put in a complaint in regards to the condition of my room. It hadn’t been cleaned,” said Lloyd Dool, another resident.

“We’re so short of nurses, care aids and whatnot that the care has gone downhill tremendously,” said Mark Chase, a resident.

Chase’s wife has also seen the problems.

“The morale is bad between residents and staff. I mean I feel bad for the nurses and I feel bad for the residents. They’re not being cared for like they should’ve been. They were cared for at one time when he first moved in,” said Karen Anderson, who is usually visiting at the home on a daily basis.

CHEK News has seen staff complaints to the worker’s compensation board and human rights tribunal of sick pay withheld as a form of punishment and residents going without baths for weeks. However, a number of people say they’re too afraid to interview on camera for fear of reprisals.

“They’re scared to speak up for themselves. Staff and residents are afraid to say anything because of the repercussions from management. That’s really sad,” said Anderson.

The union that represents 200 staff at Echo Village and Fir Park Village says management is refusing to follow the collective agreement.

“Right now we are working through about 100 active grievances on a number of issues. That’s a lot of active grievances for a worksite of this size. Good stable care depends on providing a safe and respectful work environment and the residents and staff at these sites deserve much better,” said Mike Old, a spokesperson with the Hospital Employees Union.

Island Health says while it has received complaints from staff at Echo Village it has not received complaints from residents or families but its “long-term care quality oversight team has been meeting regularly with Echo Village to advise and assist on quality improvement efforts at the site.”

Echo Village’s Executive Director says while filling Registered Nurse vacancies has been difficult none of the issues raised has merit. He says extra cleaning staff have been hired during the pandemic and Echo Village has a 40-year history of providing quality care highlighted by not having had a single case of COVID-19.

This past week Island Health announced a COVID-19 outbreak at a long-term care home in Victoria.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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