B.C. Seniors’ Advocate Isobel Mackenzie invites people to take part in annual survey of residents and relatives in long-term care and assisted living, B.C. legislature, Aug. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)

B.C. senior home survey to measure COVID-19 impacts

Residents, relatives invited to describe their experiences

B.C.’s annual survey of residents in long-term care and assisted living facilities takes on new urgency with seven months of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on vulnerable seniors, B.C.’s Seniors Advocate says.

Isobel Mackenzie launched the survey Aug. 26, emphasizing the impact of isolation for residents after three months of no visits and strict limits that remain in effect.

“Every day my office hears directly from family members and some residents about how they are struggling,” Mackenzie said, adding the survey is to allow people “to tell us what their life was like before the pandemic hit, what it was like after and what it is like now.”

The 2020 survey is available online at www.carehomevisits.ca and the link will be shared with staff who can help residents complete it, either online or as a printout. Residents or family members can also call 1-877-952-3181 to have a copy mailed to them, or to complete the survey over the phone with a volunteer.

For people requesting the survey in languages other than English, call toll free 1-866-460-8126.

Mackenzie said the isolation of the pandemic has been “heartbreaking” for many of the 40,000 seniors in care homes, some of whom went from receiving daily visits to none at all.

They have been helped by thousands of volunteers who have so far done 140,000 virtual visits, made 25,000 grocery deliveries and delivered 50,000 meals to seniors who have been restricted from going out, she said.

With virus outbreaks at senior care facilities accounting for most of B.C.’s more than 200 deaths, a total ban on visits was in place from March 20 to June 30, when one designated visitor was permitted for each resident.

RELATED: B.C. completes single-site staffing for senior care

RELATED: B.C. starts allowing visits to senior care homes


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tfletcher@blackpress.ca

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