Letters to the Editor

George Derby care facility’s changes in best interest of residents

George Derby Centre is a community-based complex care facility for 300 residents, most of whom are veterans of the Armed Forces. Since 1988, we have been recognized as a Centre of Excellence for our innovative programs and the provision of the highest quality care and services for our residents.

Over the past couple of weeks, there has been much discussion about planned changes which will increase the amount of direct care provided to our residents at the centre.

Unfortunately, certain groups and individuals are using the centre to advance their own political agenda without regard to facts. Much of the information they are spreading is inaccurate and has unduly caused a great deal of stress for our residents and their families.

George Derby Centre’s first and foremost responsibility is to respond to and meet our residents’ changing needs so that they can maintain their optimal level of personal health and well-being, despite the presence of serious chronic illness, until the end of their life. We achieve our mission by continually refining and changing our leisure, medical, nursing, rehabilitative, spiritual and therapeutic programs and other services so that they support our residents’ changing abilities and needs.

Over the past several years, the centre has made many changes in an effort to increase our nursing care staffing levels to meet our residents changing care needs. We have reduced or eliminated management positions, contracted out services such as grounds keeping, maintenance, rehabilitation and spiritual care services and leisure programs and reduced our non-labour costs as much as possible. Unfortunately, these changes have not resulted in the level of savings that we require to respond to our residents’ changing needs.

Continuing to contract out selected services will allow us to maintain and even improve the quality of care provided to our residents. For example, we will be able to save money in the support services areas so that we can add resident care staff. Therefore, the Resident Care Aides will have more time to assist residents with their personal activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming and toileting and supporting them during each meal.

We have very stringent standards in the contracting out process which will result in the quality of support services being the same as it is now or better. This is because the standards and requirements in long term care are very different from acute care, especially since our facility is the residents’ home. All of the money that we save will be used to increase the hours of care for each resident. We expect to be able to provide to each resident about 27 additional minutes of personal care per day.

The centre operates in compliance with the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which dictates a high quality of cleaning, infection control and maintenance standards. The centre undergoes routine licensing inspections and any identified deficiencies must be corrected. We meet and even exceed national quality and risk management standards. Those standards will be maintained by the contractor.

Unlike acute care, George Derby Centre has a 28 day seasonal meal plan and prepares the food onsite. The contractor will be required to meet or exceed our current standards regarding taste and nutrition. In fact, more flexibility can be built into their services which will directly benefit our residents, such as a restaurant style meal service so that our residents have more time to get to the dining room.

We also hope to extend coverage at reception to enhance security and to be available for family members who cannot visit during the day.

Change is always difficult and the decision to contract out was not taken lightly. We will do all we can to make the transition as easy as possible for our residents, families and staff. It’s time to stop the fear-mongering and rhetoric and look to the facts. Our first priority has to be the safety and well-being of all of our residents and continuing to contract out will allow us to maintain and even improve the care we provide to them.

George Derby Centre will not jeopardize its standards. We will maintain the excellence that has been established over the past 25 years and continue to provide the highest quality care and services to our veteran residents.

Janice Mitchell

Executive Director

George Derby Centre

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