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

15 new mayors to take office across the Kootenays

Here’s a look at the highlights from across the Kootenay region in B.C.

Mayoral results from across B.C.

Voters in 162 municipalities in B.C. set to elect mayor, council, school board and more

Every vote counts: 10 tightest races in B.C.’s municipal elections

Peachland saw their election decided by just one vote

Why municipal elections are important

Voting helps shape our community

Director happy with referendum results

Columbia Shuswap Regional District Area A residents voted in favour of the… Continue reading

Canada Post strikes leaves small shops in the lurch as holidays approach: CFIB

Rotating strikes began in Victoria, Edmonton, Halifax and Windsor

BREAKING: Person arrested after motel stabbing in Fernie

Restaurant patron at Fernie Super 8 Hotel injured in random attack

Liberals write off $6.3 billion in loans as part of money never to be collected

That includes student loans and a $2.6 billion write off that came through Export Development Canada

Category 5 Hurricane Willa threatens Mexico’s Pacific coast

Hurricane-force winds extended 30 miles (45 kilometres) from the storm’s centre

Trudeau, McKenna to announce compensation for federal carbon plan

Provinces that don’t have a carbon price of at least $20 per tonne of emissions will have Ottawa’s plan forced on them

Okanagan parachute accident kills American

Man, 34, dies in skydiving accident Saturday near Westwold, between Vernon and Kelowna

Man who died at BC Ferries terminal shot himself as police fired: watchdog

Officers didn’t commit any offence, says police watchdog office

Voter turnout at 36% in B.C.’s municipal election

Vancouver saw 39% turnout, Surrey saw 33%

Harry and Meghan travel in different style on Australia tour

Prince Harry and his wife Meghan are on day seven of their 16-day tour of Australia and the South Pacific.

Most Read