On Short Notice: An Investigation of Vancouver Island Health Authority's Process for Closing Cowichan Lodge

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Authority Vancouver Island Health Authority
Category Health, Seniors
Classification Public Report No. 48
Type Report
Details

On February 14, 2012 the Ombudsperson released Public Report No. 48 On Short Notice: An Investigation of Vancouver Island Health Authority's Process for Closing Cowichan Lodge. The report was the result of 46 complaints from people in the Cowichan area who were concerned about and directly affected by Vancouver Island Health Authority’s (VIHA) announced closure of a long established seniors’ residential care facility in Duncan. 

The investigation focused on the following issues:

  • Informing residents and family members of the decision to close Cowichan Lodge
  • Notifying staff of the decision to close Cowichan Lodge
  • The process followed in requesting and granting an exemption to the 12 month notice requirement

The Ombudsperson made six findings and six recommendations. Key recommendations include:

  • Developing a publicly available policy that sets out the process to follow when closing a facility (Recommendation 1)
  • Considering all relevant factors including employment opportunities and recruitment needs at other facilities that residents might transfer to and where staff might wish to apply when determining a schedule to announce a facility’s closure (Recommendation 2)
  • Fulfilling the legal obligation to provide 12 month's notice or seek an exemption to regulatory notice periods when planning a facility closure (Recommendation 3(b))
  • Establishing a process to ensure an alternate decision maker, not directly affiliated with VIHA, considers VIHA’s request for exemption to the 12 month notice requirement (Recommendation 3(c))

Update on Recommendations

VIHA accepted and agreed to implement five of the six recommendations.  VIHA indicated it could not accept recommendation 3(c) as it believes it is statutorily bound to refer requests for exemption to the 12 month notice of closure of a residential care facility to VIHA medical health officers.

Date Tuesday, February 14, 2012