Survey to delve into Cowichan’s seniors care facilities

Volunteers from the Cowichan Valley are needed to interview seniors in residential care about their experiences.

Volunteers from the Cowichan Valley are needed to interview seniors in residential care about their experiences.

B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie has announced the launch of a province- wide survey of 27,000 residents living in 303 publicly-subsidized care facilities in B.C.

The survey will explore a range of questions on privacy, food, safety and security, comfort, respect and responsiveness of staff, personal relationships, medications and activities in the facility.

Residents will be interviewed in-person and their most frequent visitor, who is usually a family member, will be sent a mail-out survey.

Up to 50 volunteers are needed to administer the survey in the Cowichan Valley.

“For the first time in this province, we are going to every care facility and we are asking every resident and their most frequent visitor, a number of questions about their quality of life in the care facility,” said Mackenzie.

“Through this comprehensive and standardized approach, we will be able to learn from the people who call residential care their home what impacts their quality of life and whether we are meeting their needs.”

The survey and its methodology were designed through a 14-month consultative process involving key stakeholders including facilities, health authorities, family members, union representatives, community groups and academic experts from across Canada.

A cornerstone of the survey will be the involvement of trained volunteers.

A website has been developed for survey volunteers at www.surveybcseniors.org.

Volunteers can apply online or by calling the Office of the Seniors Advocate office at 1-877-952-3181. Volunteers will be screened and if suitable will participate in a one-day training session and will be asked for a commitment of at least 30 hours over the survey period.

Each volunteer will be assigned to a facility and will be responsible for surveying a certain number of residents in that facility.

“What we’re hearing from volunteers so far is that this is a very positive experience both for them and the residents they are meeting,” said Mackenzie.

“It’s an opportunity for volunteers to gain meaningful volunteer experience and for residents to give feedback in a focused way that they may not have previously had an opportunity to do.”