More pandemic protection needed for B.C. seniors as second COVID-19 wave hits: report

BURNABY, B.C. — 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.

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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.

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.

Heath 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.

"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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2020.

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