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Administrator takes over Chinatown care home after investigation

The move follows findings of “emotional abuse” and neglect at the facility
Victoria Chinatown Care Centre on Herald Street. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

An Island Health administrator has been appointed to temporarily oversee operations at the Victoria Chinatown Care Centre long-term care home following findings of “emotional abuse” and neglect at the facility.

Underqualified staff, equipment in poor repair, lack of care planning, “actions diminishing the dignity of a person in care” and the resignation this month of key leadership were among the findings of a review in August that continued this month, Island Health said Wednesday.

The home was inspected numerous times after complaints, it said.

Derek Haynes, who most recently managed Glengarry Hospital in Victoria, will serve as the administrator of Victoria Chinatown Care Centre for six months effective Wednesday.

Island Health funds all 31 beds at the non-profit Herald Street long-term care facility, in the heart of Victoria’s Chinatown. A volunteer board of directors operates the facility.

Island Health chairwoman Leah Hollins said her board took the “extraordinary action” of appointing an administrator to manage the seniors residence because of the operator’s “inability to meet the care expectations outlined in legislation.”

“Providing high-quality, safe, dignified care for seniors in our publicly funded long-term care facilities” is a priority, she said in a statement.

A review in August and ­September carried out by the health authority’s licensing ­program found two key areas of non-compliance with the ­Community Care and Assisted Living Act and Residential Care Regulation, according to a report posted Wednesday.

James Hanson, who oversees long-term care for Island Health, said in an interview it’s only the fourth time in a decade that this type of action was deemed necessary, “so it’s quite significant.”

The health authority’s ­licensing branch has worked with the small non-profit centre for almost 30 years without issues, he said, but there were enough ­contraventions as of February that an action plan was devised to bring the centre into compliance.

In most cases, contractors or care providers can work with the health authority to bring a facility back into compliance, he said, “but in this case they couldn’t or they didn’t see a path to success and that’s why we’ve gone in with an administrator.”

The key issue in this case, he said, was the fact that the organization’s management — the individuals responsible for bringing the organization back into compliance — was planning to leave at the end of the month.

Care centre board member John Cheung, who is retired after working three decades at the B.C. Ministry of Health, said his board went to Island Health requesting an administrator after receiving notice of the resignations in August — three registered nurses, including the centre’s administrator and second-in-charge.

The centre did not have replacements and anticipated recruitment of nurses in a labour shortage would take many months.

“We are on the same team,” Cheung said. “We really look forward to co-operating with the administrator to reshape the care centre.”

Cheung said Island Health has resources the non-profit can draw upon until “operational issues” can be rectified, and leadership can be hired to provide a better care environment for residents.

“We are just concentrating on the bottom line of what’s best for residents,” said Cheung, noting the complaints in the report are very concerning.

Cheung said the care centre opened in 1982 to serve mainly Chinese-speaking seniors. The centre provides Chinese meals and an array of cultural activities, programs and outings.

While it is open to all seniors, it is often a first-choice for Chinese-speaking seniors and usually has a wait list. “It’s quite in demand,” said Cheung.

The administrator will report to Island Health’s board of directors through the long-term care program and be responsible for the daily operation and management of the facility, including care planning, staff recruitment and orientation, human resources and payroll, development and implementation of audit tools, developing policies and procedures, and compliance with standards of care.

“We’ll do whatever it takes from an operational standpoint to support them,” said Hanson.

In December 2019, Island Health appointed a temporary administrator to oversee the 217-bed for-profit Selkirk Seniors Village in Victoria. It was the third Retirement Concepts seniors home on Vancouver Island to fall under the health authority’s temporary control amid concerns about staffing shortages and neglect of residents. The health authority funded 185 of the beds at Selkirk Seniors Village.

The same temporary administrator was also appointed to run the Comox Seniors Village in Courtenay on Sept. 30 and the Nanaimo Seniors Village on Nov. 27 of that same year.

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