Healthy Living in the North

Securing safe care

senior care, safe housing, older adults

Ensuring safe care for loved ones is very important.

When faced with the difficult situation of looking for care for a loved one – be it a child or an elderly loved one – there are a variety of issues to consider: what will the food be like? Will they be comfortable? How often will we be able to visit or see them? One question that most people don’t think to ask is “is this facility licensed?”

Did you know? June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

With a specific focus on elderly loved ones, finding safe care is important because, as people age, there are a number of risk factors that put older adults at risk for abuse, including:

  • Challenges with memory associated with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.
  • Challenged communication skills as mental or physical status changes.
  • Declining physical condition and having to rely more on others for care, including activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing and using the washroom.
  • Relying on others can also reduce the amount of personal choice.
  • Feeling socially isolated from friends and family, especially if living away.
  • A person with limited financial resources may have fewer choices. He or she may be unable to move elsewhere if the care and assistance being provided is not adequate.

Legislated by the Government of British Columbia and enforced by the regional health authority, licensing works to improve the quality of care and to protect those who are in care. Licensing also offers education to the public about quality services. In northern B.C., Northern Health works with other agencies to monitor and regulate these facilities.

Did you know that there are approximately 1,050 licensed residential care facilities in British Columbia?

What if I have concerns about a licensed care facility?

  • Community care licensing programs are mandated to protect vulnerable individuals and provide public assurance that the established minimum standards for health, safety and well-being are maintained. Under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, either a Medical Health Officer or a Licensing Officer must investigate every complaint related to non-compliance with the Act or regulations in a licensed community care facility.
  •  There are a number of ways to make a complaint regarding the health, safety or well-being of a person in care at a licensed community care facility. You can call Enquiry B.C. toll-free at 1-800-663-7867 and ask to be connected to your local Community Care Licensing Office, or you can mail, email, fax or visit the office.

For more information about Northern Health’s community care licensing, please visit Northern Health’s community care licensing web page.

Kelli Sumner

About Kelli Sumner

Kelli has been with Northern Health for 22 years in various capacities. In her current role as a residential licensing officer in the Prince George office, she ensures the health and safety of vulnerable adults in care across the region. Kelli received her Bachelor of Nursing at UNBC and is currently completing a Masters in Leadership through SFU. Kelli is kept busy with six children and her hobby farm, pursuing her passion of raising goats and chickens. She also works to provide hospice care and is a strong advocate for palliative care. To stay active, she enjoys family activities such as skiing, skidooing, horseback riding, swimming, and ATVing.