Canada has been shown internationally to have some of the worst death rates for seniors in long-term care during the COVID pandemic. (Metro Creative Graphics)

Canada has been shown internationally to have some of the worst death rates for seniors in long-term care during the COVID pandemic. (Metro Creative Graphics)

LETTER – Seniors in long-term care are being overlooked by our public health officer

The following is an open letter to Dr. Bonnie Henry, from Crying Out Loud, a Comox Valley-based volunteer non-profit society (pending) that advocates for quality residential dementia care.


Serious problems exist in long-term care facilities that need immediate action. This is not new information. There are hundreds of reports, articles in newspapers, Canadian Army reports, research studies, letters to the editor, demonstrations. And families have been reporting these problems for years. Canada has been shown internationally to have some of the worst death rates for seniors in long-term care during the COVID pandemic.

• In lockdown, residents are losing weight, in depression, lonely, unhappy, with little or no recreation, and not enough of the loving touch families bring.

• There is now, during this seven-month lockdown of our seniors, no oversight by families/visitors to assess the care loved ones are receiving and no oversight on facility cleanliness

• Retirement Concepts facilities are moving to take administrative control of family council meetings and limit membership

• For-profits turn their focus away from quality of care hours to increase profits in private facilities, foreign ownership

• There is little or no continuing education training for care aids, critical especially for dementia residents.

• There are no effective quality standards or measurement with penalties

• The food is often of poor quality

• Until recently, for-profit homes had Inadequate staff, low wages, recruiting problems, staff working in more than one facility. This had been pinpointed as a cause of infection for years.

• There is an overuse of psychotic drugs to make the resident more compliant where there is no diagnosis of mental disease

• There is an overuse of wheelchairs, again a control issue, taking away independence and fitness.

• Fluids are frequently limited to the point of dehydration in order to reduce bathroom use and diaper changes

Several facilities in BC had an imposed government administrator whose term, ended at the end of July, resulted in some improvements in care. Now the facilities appear to be reverting to old practices and there is no effective monitoring. A recent announcement that staff increases in B.C. are planned is welcomed, however, strict quality standards and measurements with penalties and public reporting must be put in place. These are our tax dollars.

Many small groups have advocated for years for improved care in nursing homes, families are stressed seeing their loved ones deteriorate and die prematurely. It is now time for all levels for government to take action to correct this severe situation.

How can you let this continue? We are appalled by the situation these vulnerable seniors are subjected to. This is outright abuse.

Clearly, seniors’ lives don’t matter.

Letter to the Editor

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Cumberland will be looking to a parcel tax to cover debt for its new water system. File photo
Cumberland plans for parcel tax to cover water debt

Parcel tax review panel would take place March 22, if necessary

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read