- Fraser Valley Current
- 25 long-term care homes. Which provide the best care?
25 long-term care homes. Which provide the best care?
The Current analyzed data from all 25 care homes in the Fraser Valley to see where they are meeting provincial guidelines, or falling behind.
This story is part of a series of articles on long-term care homes in the province using data from BC’s Long Term Care Directory. Find the other stories below:
When it comes to long-term care facilities in the Fraser Valley, some tend to their residents better than others. They spend more time with residents, provide more physical therapy, and give their residents better social connections. Others do not.
Using data from all 25 long-term care facilities in the valley, The Current uncovered both individual long-term care homes that were falling behind as well as general trends in the Fraser Valley. For example, four Fraser Valley long-term care homes are not providing as much direct care as they should be. The province mandates that residents in long-term care should receive at least 3.36 hours of care from nurses and other staff each day.
The Current analyzed data from all 25 long-term care facilities in the Fraser Valley, uncovering which ones are best at providing targeted care, supportive therapies, and social connections. It also shows which facilities are struggling.
The data comes from BC’s Long-Term Care Directory and shows trends among health authority-owned facilities, for-profit facilities, and not-for-profit facilities during the first year of the pandemic. It is meant, in part, to help families choose which care homes might be best for individual seniors, BC Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie said. But it is also meant to see how individual care homes stack up against the rest.
“Sometimes, even if the care home is the same as every other care home, that doesn’t mean it’s good.”
A note on the data: Some differences in the data for Fraser Valley care facilities can be attributed to the demographics of the residents they care for. For example, some facilities may have low rates of occupational or physical therapy because the residents there do not require it. Although we have done our best to analyze the data with this in mind, comparing average rates to the province in most cases, we are not perfect. If you are using this article to identify which care home you or a family member may need to move to, we recommend consulting the Long Term Care Directory for more detailed information about that care home specifically.
On average, Fraser Valley long-term care homes do not give residents the degree of attention the province requires. BC has said residents in long-term care should get at least 3.36 hours of direct care. Most in the Fraser Valley meet that guideline. Few exceed it.
Four facilities provide fewer than three hours each day: Waverly Seniors Village in Chilliwack, Chartwell Langley Gardens, Eden Care Centre in Chilliwack, and Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz. The places with the highest direct care hours: Fraser Hope Lodge in Hope with 3.4 hours, Langley Memorial Hospital ECU with 3.4 hours, Heritage Village in Chilliwack with 3.5 hours, and Cottage and Worthington Pavilion at the MSA Hospital with 3.7 hours.
Staff at long-term care facilities across the province were less likely to be vaccinated against the flu than in previous years—Mackenzie isn’t exactly sure why, and hopes it may be a data collection error. In the Fraser Valley, some facilities had significantly low flu vaccination rates. (The long-term care directory did not gather COVID vaccination rates for staff, as they must all be vaccinated in order to work in long-term care.)
The places with the lowest rates include Menno Home, a mennonite facility in Abbotsford; Tabor Home, a Christian non-profit facility in Abbotsford; Menno Hospital, a facility associated with Menno Home; and Valhaven Rest Home, an Abbotsford facility associated with Tabor Home. The lowest flu shot rate in the valley was at Valhaven Rest Home, with less than 10% of staff vaccinated. Five facilities had vaccine rates above 80%: Valleyhaven in Chilliwack, as well as Maplewood House, MSA Manor, The Mayfair, and Oxford Senior Care, all of which are in Abbotsford.
Life inside care homes
Residents in long-term care homes faced loneliness and isolation in the face of shuttered visits and reduced activities during the first year of the pandemic. In some facilities, like Valhaven Rest Home in Abbotsford, residents managed to stay relatively connected, with only a quarter of residents saying they had low social engagement. Others were not so lucky.
In four care homes, more two-thirds of residents lacked social engagement: the Fort Langley Seniors Community, Agassiz Seniors Community, Cottage and Worthington Pavilions in Mission Hospital, and The Cascades in Chilliwack. (All except The Cascades had at least one COVID outbreak during the first year of the pandemic—but so did two of the facilities with the best connections for residents, suggesting that COVID isn’t entirely to blame for residents’ loneliness.)
Therapies for residents
In five Fraser Valley facilities, at least one-fifth of residents are receiving physical therapy: Menno Hospital and Menno Home in Abbotsford, Chartwell Langley Gardens, Fraser Hope Lodge in Hope, and Jackman Manor in Langley. That, Mackenzie said, is a good thing. Both occupational and physical therapy help residents become more independent in their day-to-day activities, and involve highly trained professionals. Having those therapies available for long-term care residents can help improve their quality of life.
However, many Fraser Valley facilities do not provide such services. Five facilities have no residents receiving physical therapy, and 11 have no residents receiving occupational therapy. The valley is better at providing recreational therapy, with one-third of residents receiving the therapy that helps patients engage in leisure activities. (For-profit facilities provincewide are more likely to offer recreational therapy than either physical or occupational therapy than not-for-profit and health-authority-run facilities.) Although recreational therapy is important, Mackenzie is concerned that it takes precedence over the other two therapies, which are often more expensive to provide.
The Valley’s successes
The data also shows areas where Fraser Valley facilities are doing well or improving. Health officials have been trying to discourage the use of restraints in long-term care homes for years. While occasionally unavoidable, authorities say they should not be used as a substitute for a well-designed environment or proper resident care.
It appears many Fraser Valley facilities have taken that to heart: with an average of 5% of residents in the valley being restrained, compared to 7% provincially. The facility with the highest restraint use—Abbotsford’s Bevan Village, at 15%—was not among the top 30 facilities provincewide.
All the data from the Long Term Care Directory is useful, but it only means so much. When it comes to determining which care home someone should go to, a lot of it will come down to personal needs and preference, Mackenzie said.
“Different people will place a different value on certain aspects of a care home. So some people will place a high premium on food, others will place a high premium on social activities,” she told The Current. “Is there a place that is better for my mum or dad or me? Or really do I just have to acknowledge that this is what some of the issues are in long-term care, and this is what it’s going to look like pretty much wherever I go.”
Most Fraser Valley facilities are experiencing the same challenges as other facilities across the province and region. But, as we discuss with Mackenzie in our next article on long-term care homes, improving care for seniors isn’t just about long-term care. It’s also about how we design our communities to grow with people as they age.