Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook, one of Golden Life’s senior’s living residences. (File Photo)

Joseph Creek Village in Cranbrook, one of Golden Life’s senior’s living residences. (File Photo)

Staff shortages, substantiated concerns being addressed at Joseph Creek Care Village: agencies

Golden Life Management, Interior Health and Ministry of Health all issue statements

Issues surrounding staff shortages at Joseph Creek Care Village in Cranbrook are being dealt with, according to the three agencies responsible for overseeing and operating the care home.

Some substantiated concerns were identified at Joseph Creek in the summer of 2020, Interior Health said in a statement.

“At which time we increased inspections and supports for this care home,” reads the statement. “Many of those concerns were addressed by the operator over the next year.”

Joseph Creek is a privately owned care home, and regional authorities are responsible to ensure contractors are complying with B.C.’s Community Care and Assisted Living Act and Residential Care Regulations.

Golden Life Management operates the care home, and explained that there have been staff shortages across the industry and they are actively working to remedy that issue through a number of avenues.

“The health care industry is unprecedented at times with major staff shortages across the industry including government, not-for-profit and privately owned providers throughout Canada and B.C. The situation has become increasingly intense due to the high demands COVID put on our staff, as well as single site staffing orders from the Ministry of Health,” Golden Life said in an emailed statement to the Townsman. “Even through these challenges, we have consistently met our staffing hours and contractual obligations and Joseph Creek Village.”

The statement continues to say that as an organization, their main focus is the care and support that they provide to residents.

“We have done that very well over the years,” said Golden Life. “When we are short staffed, we activate our contingency plans – including moving nurses in from other Villages, having management on the floor, and utilizing other department staff that have been trained to participate in contingency plans.”

There are seven inspections on file for Joseph Creek on Interior Health’s web portal for the year of 2020. Five of those are listed as substantiated complaints, while the other two are routine inspections.

A total of 11 critical infractions counts were noted in these inspections.

In 2021, there have been two routine inspections. A total of four critical infractions were noted on the inspections.

IH says they are continually working with Golden Life Management to ensure processes are in place.

“We continue to monitor and work with the operator to ensure the operator has appropriate and sustainable processes in place to keep in compliance with the Act and Regulations,” said IH. “The safety and security of individuals in care is our top priority. Interior Health takes all complaints seriously and will follow up appropriately based on processes established in the B.C. Ombudsperson Office. Joseph Creek Care Village is operated by Golden Life Management – additional requests on their day-to-day operations should be directed to the operator.”

Golden Life listed a number of initiatives that they are currently taking to address staff shortages. The list includes the following:

– Introducing a new position: long term care assistant. This position provides assistance to the care team by completing non-care duties such as changing beds, stocking rooms and portering residents, allowing the care team to focus on all care duties.

– Introducing the health care assistant program in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Interior Health. The first class of this program started on April 26th with 14 students. Students attend school three days per weeks and work two days per week, completing duties similar to the long term care assistant. They will be graduating as health care assistants in December.

– Partnership with Sprott Shaw College which is currently holding their health care assistant program on-sire at Joseph Creek Village. At the beginning of the program, 14 students were enrolled and successful students will begin their practicum in October, graduating in December.

– Partnership with College of the Rockies for licensed practical nurse and registered nurse practicums and preceptorships. A number of these students often work as health care assistants while attending school.

– Partnership with recruiting agencies for temporary staff, including sourcing travel nurses, with recruitment efforts across Canada.

The B.C. Ministry of Health issued a statement explaining that they are aware of the concerns that have been raised about Joseph Creek.

“We understand that the health authority is working with the operator and that an exemption to the single site order has been approved to add fully immunized licensed practical nursing staffing coverage to the site,” said the Ministry of Health in an email to the Townsman. “Interior Health’s top priority is to ensure this care home is provided safe care for the people that live there, and has been directly involved in supporting improvements to clinical practices.”

READ: B.C., care homes partner to train more home support staff

READ: Unmet care standards spark leadership overhaul at Merritt care home: Interior Health

The Ministry also confirmed that 16 full-time staff were hired at Joseph Creek Care Village in July of 2021. The province has filled a total of 2,292 health care worker positions this year.

“It has been a tough time in health care with COVID-19, and we are very thankful to our staff for all they do,” said Golden Life. “We are one of a few care providers in B.C. that had no resident COVID cases.”

Regarding and critical infractions, Golden Life Management says they are working in partnership with Interior Health Licensing and Interior Health Quality Representatives to address any infractions in a timely manor.

“We are pleased to say through these partnerships and oversight, we successfully addressed all infractions,” Golden Life said. “We are proud to provide quality, resident centred care in these challenging times.”

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