Wandering assisted-living residents prompts Fraser Health review

Fifteen residents were reported missing or wandering in health region last year, more than rest of province combined.

Isobel Mackenzie heads B.C.'s Office of the Seniors Advocate.

Isobel Mackenzie heads B.C.'s Office of the Seniors Advocate.

Fraser Health will review its assisted-living facilities after seeing a spike in the number of residents reported as missing or wandering.

More such residents went missing in Fraser Health than in all other B.C. health regions combined in 2015, according to the Office of the Seniors Advocate’s annual report.

Assisted-living residences – in which seniors live on their own, in private apartments, with some help – reported 15 people missing or wandering in the 2015/16 fiscal year in the Fraser Health region, which stretches from Delta to the Fraser Canyon.

Only eight other incidents were reported across the rest of B.C. The Fraser Health number was up from the eight people reported missing in 2014, which itself was double the 2013 figure.

The report doesn’t say whether patients were living in public or private facilities.

Fraser Health spokesperson Jacqueline Blackwell said wandering can be a first sign of dementia and patients exhibiting such signs are immediately placed on priority list for transfer to a residential care facility.

Blackwell said Fraser Health is planning a review of its assisted-living programs in 2017, with a focus on safety.

“We recognized that that number is elevated over previous years,” she said.

She also noted the Fraser Health has the most assisted-living units of all B.C.’s health authorities.

The report also shows that seniors seeking a residential care spot in Fraser Health are waiting longer and usually don’t get a spot at their preferred facility.

Only 52 per cent of those waiting for residential care were admitted to a hospital within the target window of 30 days in the 2015/16 year, down from 57 per cent the previous year.

Wait times across the province ranged widely, from a median wait of just a week in the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority to 42 on Vancouver Island.

But in Fraser Health, patients are less likely to end up at their preferred facility than seniors in other health regions, the report notes.

Just 28.5 per cent of seniors were initially placed in their preferred residential care home in 2015/16, down from 31.2 per cent. Those who don’t get placed at their preferred site can ask for a transfer, but in Fraser Health, only 6.8 per cent were moved to their requested spot last year.

Blackwell said a provincial directive requires patients to be placed in the first available bed. She said moving people to preferred sites is a desired outcome and one the health authority works towards. Blackwell also noted the health authority added 403 residential care beds last year to bring the total to 8,217.

The 35.1 per cent of residents being placed in their preferred locations is the lowest figure in the province.

Just under half of patients in Vancouver Coastal Health and Vancouver Island Health get preferred spots, while in the Interior and Northern B.C., the number exceeds 90 per cent.

The report also shows that housing subsidies for those over 60 hasn’t kept up with increases in rent over the past decade, despite boosts in the program’s budget.

 

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

Just Posted

Maple Ridge city hall recently conducted a citizen satisfaction survey.
Homelessness and poverty detracting from quality of life in Maple Ridge

Citizen survey shows more than three quarters of residents are satisifed

The intersection at Harris Road and Lougheed Highway (Google)
LETTER: Pitt Meadows resident wonders why traffic signals not updated

A local man has contacted the city and road contractor with concerns to no avail

Juanita Belle Savege turns 100 on Saturday. (Special to The News)
Long-time Pitt Meadows teacher and realtor turns 100

Drive-by celebration for the centenarian on Saturday, Jan. 30

The annual call for applications for the Canada Summer Jobs program will remain open until January 29, 2021. (Pixabay)
Still time for Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows businesses to sign up for Canada Summer Jobs program

Public and private sector employers eligible for 75 per cent wage subsidy reimbursement

(News files)
Pitt Meadows receives $3.7 million for COVID-19 costs

Provincial grant will cover funding shortfalls and new expenses

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Worker at Swartz Bay terminal on Monday, January 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Former BC Ferries employee alleges he was fired because of his race

Imraan Goondiwala has been granted a BC Human Rights Tribunal hearing

Some of the fake gold sold by con artists in B.C. RCMP said there have been reports of the scam in Richmond, Coquitlam, Burnaby, Langley and New Westminster from Jan. 17 through Jan. 22 (RCMP)
‘Dubai gold’ scam is back in the Lower Mainland

If someone offers to sell gold jewelry at a bargain, it’s probably fake, police warn

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

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker have been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s Civil Emergency Measures Act for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
B.C. couple who travelled to Yukon for COVID vaccine ineligible for 2nd dose until summer

The province is ensuring those eligible to receive the vaccine get the second shot within 42 days

(File)
Mask dispute in court leaves Vancouver cop with broken leg

Man allegedly refused to put on a mask and resisted arrest

(Kraft Dinner/Twitter)
Kraft Dinner launches candy-flavoured mac and cheese just in time for Valentine’s Day

Sweet and cheesy treat will be here just in time for the cheesiest holiday of the year

Most Read