Island Health is ending the temporary appointment of an administrator at the Comox Valley Seniors Village.

The health authority is doing the same at the Nanaimo Seniors Village.

The original decision to bring in an administrator to oversee day-to-day operations was based on a recommendation from the North Island Medical Health Officer.

It was based on evidence from Island Health’s Community Care Facilities Licensing program after a detailed investigation last August and September.

On July 29th, Island Health’s Board of Directors made the decision to end the administrator’s appointment, after reviewing recommendations from 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,” said Adrian Dix, Minister of Health. “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.”  

Island Health board chair Leah Hollins said quality of life for residents in long-term care is paramount.

“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,” she added.

Dr. Enns says an administrator was no longer required at Comox Valley Seniors Village, noting a comprehensive management transition plan was in place and all key management positions are filled and have demonstrated experience in those roles.

Island Health pointed out specific improvements at Comox Valley Seniors Village including:

  • 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; and
  • Coordinated processes to ensure staff receive appropriate guidance and ongoing education.

Island Health’s Long-term Care program is also taking steps to ensure the improvements made at the Nanaimo and Comox Valley Seniors Villages are sustained. 

Changes imposed on the operator’s contract are designed to strengthen a redesigned quality assurance process developed by Island Health.

The contract amendments include a requirement 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 also says it’s increasing the number of staff responsible for oversight to include on-site audits of performance.

 Susan Abermann was initially appointed as administrator at Comox Valley Seniors Village on Sept. 30th, 2019 for a period of at least six months, ending March 31st, 2020. 

The appointment by the Board was based on a recommendation from Dr. Enns and followed investigation and reporting by the Licensing program. In March, Abermann’s appointment was extended to July 31.

On November 27th, 2019, Abermann was appointed as administrator at Nanaimo Seniors Village for a period of at least six months, ending May 27th. 

The appointment by the Board was based on a recommendation from Dr. Hasselback and followed investigation and reporting by the Licensing program. In May, Abermann’s appointment was extended to July 31st.

Comox Valley Seniors Village is a privately owned 136-bed long-term care facility operated by West Coast Seniors Housing Management LLP, which is part of the Retirement Concepts group of companies. Island Health publicly funds 120 of the beds.