Emergency visits, admission and death in hospital are more likely for seniors in contracted care homes. (Black Press files)

Contract care homes mean more hospital deaths: seniors advocate

B.C. Care Providers Association questions report’s method, conclusions

Contracted senior care homes keep up with those operated directly by B.C. health authorities in most patient satisfaction surveys, but in one area they lag behind: visits to hospital and death in hospital.

That’s the finding of a new report by B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie, the latest measure of performance of senior care.

“After a careful review of multi-year data, a consistent pattern emerges that shows a demonstrably greater use of he emergency department and hospital beds by residents from contracted long-term care facilities versus residents from publicly run facilities, and a stunning 54 per cent greater likelihood that you will die in the hospital if you live in a contracted care facility versus a publicly operated facility,” Mackenzie said Wednesday.

Analysis of hospital data showed that residents of contracted care homes were 32 per cent more likely to be sent to emergency, 34 per cent more likely to be admitted to hospital, spent more time in hospital and were 47 per cent more likely to be transferred to a different level of facility when released.

The B.C. Care Providers’ Association, representing contracted care homes, disputed the findings. Association CEO Daniel Fontaine said the report does not determine how many of the higher rate of emergency visits were legitimate visits, and the report contains “questionable assumptions and political buzzwords, rather than independent research.”

Health Minister Adrian Dix said in an interview the gap between public and private care home staffing occurred during the B.C. Liberal government, when 91 per cent of care homes didn’t meet provincial standard for direct care hours. The health care budget now includes a record increase intended to meet that standard, on average, in every health authority, he said.

“I’m acting on care standards, I’m acting on more beds, I’m acting on improving supports in the community because we want fewer people going into care,” Dix said.

There are 293 publicly subsidized care facilities in B.C., a third of which are directly operated by provincial health authorities. The rest are contracted with a mix of private companies and not-for-profit organizations.

RELATED: Care home directory rates B.C. facilities

Previous studies by Mackenzie’s office have noted that contract care facilities are funded for fewer hours of direct care than public facilities, including physiotherapy, occupational and recreational therapy. They also are the subject of more complaints from residents and families.

“We know that contracted facilities have more substantiated complaints and reportable incidents than public facilities,” the report states. “But in the recent province-wide satisfaction survey of all subsidized contracted and public care facilities in the province, there was no overall difference in the level of satisfaction and quality of life indicators between those facilities operated by a health authority (public) and those facilities operated by the contractors.”

Just Posted

Rupertites contribute funds to wildfire relief effort

Afternoon barbecue on Aug. 17 barbecue brings in more than $500

Inspection report reveals multiple failures in Prince Rupert ammonia leak

68kg ammonia tank was being stored improperly in a shipping container outside the arena

In Our Opinion: How to lose an ammonia tank— ask the city

How did a 68kg cylinder of ammonia remain unseen after multiple audits and assessments

COLUMN: Affordable safe housing for all

On the importance of supporting all housing projects in Prince Rupert

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

This Week Podcast – Episode 98

From the Prince Rupert Golf Club, catch up on sports, entertainment and news highlights

The Northern View 2018 Readers Choice

Vote online or at the Prince Rupert office before noon on Sept. 7

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Northern B.C. residents face more evacuation orders as some smoke clears up

Regional District of BulkleyNechako issued new, expanded evacuation orders for remote areas Saturday

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Most Read