A new report includes recommendations to help long-term care workers, and residents, weather the COVID-19 storm.

Commissioned by the BC Care Providers Association, it lays out 10 proposals for the province. 

Association CEO Terry Lake says while many strong pandemic response measures by the Ministry of Health are already underway, they see “many more opportunities to improve the lives of our seniors and the people who care for them.”

Lake says rapid testing protocols and systems are a must, as are clear guidelines on how we can keep essential family caregivers safely connected to their loved ones. 

He added that staff needs to be supported through the timely dispersal of funding and pandemic pay, and by providing mental health and safety programs to alleviate widespread employee burnout.

The BCCPA’s proposals include: 

  • a province-wide pandemic plan with clear lines of responsibility and communication across the sector;
  • a standardized pandemic response plan, including how infection control teams will be mobilized in the event of an outbreak;
  • a single site policy for staff in long-term care and assisted living residences, so workers aren’t travelling from one facility to another; 
  • create an environment that reduces the transmission of infectious diseases among residents with advanced dementia and socially inappropriate behaviours. 
  •  the Provincial Health Officer establish rapid testing alongside screening protocols for residents and staff in long-term care, assisted living, and independent living;
  • address “critical” staff shortages by expanding training for new and established care staff. 
  • provide equitable pay for frontline staff; 
  • support psychological health and safety programs for workers, residents/seniors and families;
  •  ensure pandemic funding is available for PPE, staffing, and other requirements; and
  • establish robust protocols for safe and frequent social contact between residents and family members, in collaboration with SafeCare BC. 

“In B.C. we must do, and be seen to be doing, everything we can to support and protect our most vulnerable seniors during the global pandemic,” Lake said. 

“Regrettably, COVID-19 has returned to our province with a vengeance during the second wave, so we are asking everyone – including family caregivers, staff on the front lines, government, public health officials, labour unions and others in the community – to embrace all the measures needed to bend the curve and stop the virus from spreading further.”

To read the full report, click here.

We have reached out to the Ministry of Health for a response.