New residents are once again accepted at Summerland Seniors Village, following a four-month freeze that was implemented along with heavy regulatory oversight.
Interior Health last December imposed a ban on new admissions in the wake of complaints about the quality of care being provided to residents there.
Concerns reached a head that month when a resident, who had been left unattended in his room for several days, died in hospital. In the weeks that followed, Interior Health installed its own administrator and clinical consultant at the site to get the facility back on track.
The health authority announced this week it has withdrawn its administrator and lifted the freeze on new residents.
“There have been significant improvements in the area of staffing,” explained Karen Bloemink, the health authority’s regional director of residential care.
Those improvements include increased staffing levels, development and leadership “in relation to some of the clinical care areas we had concerns about,” she said.
“So because of those things, we have determined that the risk has been reduced in the site, which is why we’re starting to make the transition” to less direct supervision.
Bloemink noted, however, that the clinical consultant will remain in place and IH will continue with weekly inspections of the facility.
“We want to ensure that the changes that have been made to date are sustained, and there’s work still to be done on the site,” she said.
Facility owner Retirement Concepts said the withdrawal of the IH administrator demonstrates renewed faith in the company’s ability to care for residents.
“We have worked closely with IHA over the past few months to enhance the management and operations of our facility, and this decision indicates that our efforts have been successful,” Tony Baena, the company’s vice-president of operations, said in a statement.
He said Retirement Concepts has dispatched staff from its corporate office to the site to support management there, and to ensure it complies with company standards.
“We have also reviewed operations at all our other sites to ensure that they too are complying with those policies and procedures and are providing care and services consistent with the Retirement Concepts model of care,” Baena said. “To ensure this happens, we have added additional corporate resources and enhanced our audit procedures at all of our sites.”
Interior Health funds 75 of 80 residential-care beds at Summerland Seniors Village, plus 18 of 36 assisted-living suites. The facility also has 70 independent-living units.
Retirement Concepts operates 17 other care homes in B.C.