Westbank First Nation Long Term Care Home Aims to Close in January; cited personnel problems | The Canadian News

Westbank First Nation announced the pending closure of its long-term care facility, saying unstable times in healthcare have made it unsustainable.

The decision to close Pine Acres Home is being made with the health and well-being of residents in mind, the WFN said in a press release distributed Wednesday night.

WFN added that with the implementation of the new provincial COVID-19 requirements for long-term care facilities, continued operation of the facility is more feasible.

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“Westbank First Nation is proud to be the only community with a long-term care facility on standby,” Chief Christopher Derickson said in a press release.

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“For almost 40 years, we have provided quality care to our Seniors and seniors from other communities. Before COVID, our plan was to expand the facility to improve its long-term viability; But in these unstable times in the healthcare industry, compounded by the new public health order for mandatory COVID vaccines for healthcare workers, we have found ourselves unable to continue to ensure sufficient levels of staff to provide high-quality care. to our residents. . “

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“Staffing concerns from all stakeholders led us to make the difficult but necessary decision to notify our Membership, Pine Acres Home residents and their caregivers, Pine Acres Home and Interior Health staff, that we will begin the transition. Towards the Closing Doors of Pine Acres Homes “.

Previous consultations with Westbank First Nation Membership also raised the question of whether Pine Acres Home continued to meet members’ elderly care needs, particularly in light of the notable trend of fewer and fewer resident members at the facility in recent years. years.

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The WFN statement said this is being used as an opportunity to rethink the future of its care delivery model, considering increasing assisted living and aging options in place.

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Interior Health will work closely with residents and families to plan and facilitate safe and smooth transitions to alternative care homes for each person currently residing at Pine Acres. Interior Health is also supporting Pine Acres to ensure staff are aware of available job opportunities to continue working in long-term care in downtown Okanagan.

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Staffing shortages have been a problem for some time in care facilities, but it has worsened since the COVID-19 vaccine mandate also took effect on October 12 for all long-term and assisted living employees. Operators have been expecting a wave of resignations and many are said to have resigned in the weeks leading up to the mandate.

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As of October 11, 96 percent of all long-term care staff in British Columbia had received a first dose and 93 percent had received a second dose.

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“Despite rising vaccination levels among long-term care staff, vaccination rates vary across the province and by facility,” the Health Ministry said in an Oct. 15 statement.

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“Health authorities actively participate with long-term care and assisted living operators throughout the province to assess the impact of mandatory vaccination on staffing levels. Health authorities report that existing contingency plans ensure that residents receive the care they need.

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“Contingency plans for shortage periods include a number of options including offering staff additional shifts (including overtime) and reassigning staff from other areas.”

– with Shelby Thom files

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