A report that has been released by the Ministry of Health provides independent analysis and recommendations to support the Province’s management of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the long-term care sector.
In late spring 2020, the ministry commissioned a progress review of the response, efforts made, and actions taken by the ministry and health authorities in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to protect residents of long-term care. The ministry would normally undertake this assessment, but due to ongoing work on the pandemic, Ernst & Young, a pre-qualified supplier, was asked to assist to conduct interviews, review background material and make high-level recommendations on areas for potential improvement suggested by the long-term care sector.
Specifically, the ministry sought the perspectives of a range of sector stakeholders on progress made in the initial COVID-19 response, and on challenges with the current funding and contract model. The intent was to seek ideas on improvements to policy and operational approaches to continue to mitigate COVID-19 risks in preparation for a potential second wave of the pandemic in the fall/winter, and to complete initial groundwork on longer-term improvements.
Through the progress review, Ernst & Young conducted one-on-one or small-group interviews with more than 40 stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health, health authorities, the BC Centre of Disease Control, seniors’ associations, care home operators, providers, frontline staff and the Hospital Employees’ Union. The objective was to seek input about the progress, so far, in keeping residents of long-term care safe, and where and how any further improvements in progress could be made, both in the shorter and longer term. There was also a commitment to share the final report with the sector and take action on the high-level recommendations.
The report arrived in late October 2020 for the ministry’s consideration and the contents of the progress review were immediately acted upon. Some recommended actions were already underway, while others pointed to areas where progress could be furthered, broadened or expanded — or that had not previously been identified.
The Ernst & Young progress review focused on four key areas: governance and decision-making; policy; operations; and workforce. Within each area, strengths were identified, as well as opportunities for addressing perceived gaps.
Ernst & Young made 14 short-term, and five long-term recommendations for the ministry’s consideration.
To see the B.C. Ministry of Health long-term care COVID-19 response review, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/1.25.2021_LTC_COVID-19_Response_Review.pdf
A backgrounder follows, summarizing the observations and provides an overview of related ministry actions.