A woman on a mission to increase the standards for seniors in B.C.’s care homes recently collected more than 1,300 signatures on a petition calling for higher staffing levels.
The petition will be presented in the B.C. legislature this spring by Victoria MLA Maureen Karagianis.
But Judy Galley is not stopping there.
After the petition drive, Galley realized there is a serious lack of knowledge among seniors and their families about their rights and the complaint processes designed to protect them.
“People didn’t know there are places to go if they have concerns or how to go about making complaints and this was the case for hundreds of people I spoke to,” said Galley. “Sometimes people were worried about making complaints because they were afraid of repercussions for themselves or their loved ones.”
So her mission is to spread the word that each seniors care home has a “Residents Bill of Rights” under the Hospital Act or the Community Care and Assisted Living Act which is designed to protect their rights. This is regardless of whether the facility is private or government owned or subsidized.
This includes a list of reportable acts, such as falls and neglect, which require an incident report be sent to the Community Care Licensing Office immediately.
As well, confidential complaints about care can be made to this office by anyone, including employees.
“People have this right, but many don’t know it,” says Galley. “When making a complaint always get a case worker’s name and a case number. That will be a strong indicator that you are expecting a result and increases your chance of getting one.”
Galley also suggests anyone with a concern can report abuse or neglect to the Ombudsman at 1-800-567-3247 or the Senior Health Care Support Line at 1-877-952-3181.
Galley is also continuing her work as an advocate and is asking for people to share their experiences with senior care facilities in the province.
“I welcome a letter from anyone who wishes to share,” she said. “I’m going to be compiling information and using it as evidence for the government.”
Letters can be directed to Galley at 2433 Sherry Rd., Sorrento, V0E 2W1.