It’s very important that Family Council members are familiar with guarantees that are provided by regulatory and policy language. Informed advocates are the most effective advocates.
Facility Orientation Material
Your journey might begin with a look at language or promises that appear within material included with the orientation package that your residential care facility provided at the time of admission of your loved one.
Ministry of Health (MOH) Residential Care Regulations
You MUST be familiar with regulations that are detailed in the Ministry of Health’s Residential Care Regulations. These enforceable regulations include all aspects of residential care – ranging from areas such as nutrition, medications, use of restraints, and so on. If your residential care services are being provided by a Hospital, then you should be familiar with the Hospital Act
MOH Policy Manual
The Home and Community Care Policy Manual – Residential Care Section is another document produced by the Ministry of Health. It is the policy document that details some obligations that Health Authorities have as they oversee residential care services within their jurisdictions. You will find such things as “definitions” of general kinds of residential care services that can/should be provided. It will also outline clearly what residential care facilities must provide free of charge to you and outline clearly the kinds of services they can charge you for.
Residents Bill of Rights
This Residents Bill of Rights must be posted in a visible place within all facilities. The rights that are listed, while quite general, have the weight of licensing officers behind them, and so can be cited when complaints are being made.
You may also find some information about residential care facilities around your community by accessing the quick facts directory on the Seniors Advocate’s website…..
THE ADVOCACY PROCESS
The Seniors Advocate has a website that is now up and running. For a look, please visit the SA’s website.
There are a variety of advocacy groups that can help you in early stages of your advocacy journey.
The Vancouver Island Association of Family Councils can help you to dialogue with your facility, with the Health Authority, or with the Ministry of Health. We can also help advance your care concerns, particularly if they are concerns that are systemic.
Advocates for Care Reform has resources very helpful to Family Councils. You can download a handbook that is designed to help family council members be successful in their advocacy efforts.
The BC Centre For Elder Advocacy and Support consists of seniors, service providers, academics and professionals who have been working together to end abuse of seniors in British Columbia for over 15 years. It is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors and a full time Executive Director. The Centre manages SAIL (the Seniors Abuse and Information Line), which is “a safe place for older adults, and those who care about them, to talk to someone about situations where they feel they are being abused or mistreated, or to receive information about elder abuse prevention.”
The office of the Provincial Ombudsperson can provide you with a link to her The Best of Care: Getting It Right for Seniors in BC reports. These important, comprehensive reports and recommendations to the Ministry of Health provide a great deal of information that advocates can use in their individual journeys. The Ombudsperson’s site also provides information about other seniors’ investigations that have been conducted in the Investigation Case Summaries section.
The Council of Senior Citizens Organizations of BC (COSCO) is an active, province-wide umbrella association made up of various seniors organizations.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is a leader in seniors care research and policy analysis. At this site you can also access the film “The Remaining Light”, which examines trends in BC Seniors Care over the last decade.
The BC Health Coalition champions the protection and expansion of our universal health care system. Much of their focus is on the provision of quality seniors care.
For guidance with legal issues that surround Residential Care, you may wish to consult the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy and Support.
BC CEAS has just released the “Legal Issues in Residential Care Manual: An Advocates Manual”. This Manual explores wide ranging legal issues related to everything from admission, to life in residential care, to transfers, to rights/remedies/problem resolution, to substitute decision-making, consent, capacity, and so on.
For guidance associated with the LGBTQ community in residential care…
you may wish to see the recently released discussion paper that summarizes findings and recommendations for providing culturally competent care for LGBTQ seniors in Residential Care and Assisted Living.
To have a voice in the direction of Health Care in BC, you may wish to join the Patient Voices Network.
The Patient Voices Network “is a community of more than 1,500 B.C. patients, families, caregivers and others who are using their experiences to influence change in B.C.’s health care system at the individual, community and system level.” See PVN for more information on orientation sessions.
PREPARING FOR RESIDENTIAL CARE
Personal Planning is important for anyone who might be helping a family member with a disability, planning for the future, or caring for an older adult.
For information on creating a Representation Agreement, Enduring Power of Attorney, Advance Directive, Living Will or other such legal document, see Nidus. Nidus is a personal planning resource centre and registry.