Comox Valley Seniors Village on Headquarters Road in Courtenay. File photo

Comox Valley Seniors Village on Headquarters Road in Courtenay. File photo

Temporary admin period ends at Comox Valley Seniors’ Village

Medical health officer’s report cites developments including transition plan

The appointment period for a temporary administrator at Comox Valley Seniors Village (CVSV) has come – and is now gone.

On the afternoon of Friday, July 31, Island Health announced it was ending the temporary administration period for overseeing the operation of the Courtenay seniors’ home.

A news release included a statement by Minister of Health Adrian Dix indicating the administrative duties will return to the private operator. The statement covered both CVSV and another home in Nanaimo.

“The significant step to appoint an administrator was made with the single-minded goal to address serious concerns identified by Vancouver Island medical health officers,” Dix said. “It is my expectation that the progress made by the administrator will continue under the operator. To that end, Vancouver Island Health Authority has imposed new contract requirements to increase financial and clinical oversight of the residence. We have, and will continue to put the health and safety of residents first before any other consideration.”

Island Health’s board of directors made the decision on July 29 to end the administrators’ appointments after receiving input from medical health officers, including Dr. Charmaine Enns for the North Island region. According to the news release, Enns, in her update to the board, said the administration appointment was no longer required at Comox Valley Seniors Village. She pointed to a comprehensive management transition plan being put in place, adding that all key management positions have been filled with people with demonstrated experience.

Island Health chair Leah Hollins alluded to this plan in the news release.

“Quality of life for residents in long-term care is paramount,” Hollins said. “Under the leadership of the board-appointed administrator, a structure has been put into place to enable the operator to sustain the level of care and process improvements made to ensure the dignity and safety of residents.”

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Island Health had appointed Susan Abermann as administrator last fall, with the position extended in the spring to July 31. This followed a campaign from some family members of residents that highlighted compliance problems at the facility under the direction of the management company, Pacific Reach, operating as West Coast Seniors Housing Management. CVSV is part of the Retirement Concepts group, which is owned by a company called Cedar Tree – part of Anbang Insurance Group. Anbang had been seized by the Chinese government in 2018 after its former chair was charged with fraud.

Delores Broten, one family member calling for Island Health to take over administration last fall, cited some progress during the temporary administrator’s period.

“I know that the public administrator, the medical health officer, licensing and Island Health have done as much as the system is designed for, which is minimum standards. What the results are inside the wards … is impossible for me to say because families are not allowed in due to COVID,” she told the Record via email.

Broten also said that in the future, seniors’ long-term care requires bigger changes, especially for dementia patients.

“I think as communities we need to be more involved, joyfully involved, in this responsibility to our loved ones and the elders of our communities,” she added.

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