June 26th, 2019

Survey ranks long-term care facilities

By Gillian Slade on April 18, 2018.


The results of a survey about long-term care facilities in Alberta have been released by the Health Quality Council of Alberta (HQCA).

Of 172 facilities surveyed between May and September 2017, with 7,562 family members participating, 155 were included in the results. When there are less than five responses from a facility these were not included to avoid identification of participants.

The level of participation and the time it took to complete the survey is to be applauded, said Andrew Neuner, chief executive officer HQCA.

To the question of the propensity to recommend the facility, the provincial average percentage was 93.1 and in the south zone 92.5. Two facilities in the south, Bow Island Health Centre and Taber Health Centre, scored 100 per cent. Locally, Sunnyside Care Centre scored 98.1, River Ridge Seniors Village 95.7, Riverview Care Centre 92.9, and Good Samaritan South Ridge Village 92.5.

A question about staffing levels and the general environment in the facility scored a provincial average of 74.9 and in the south zone 76.6. The highest scores in the south zone were given to Taber Health Centre at 90.9 and Bow Island Health Centre 87.2. Locally, Sunnyside Care Centre scored 79.1, River Ridge Seniors Village 75.8, Good Samaritan South Ridge Village 74.7 and Riverview Care Centre 74.4.

A degree of concern about the level of staffing comes up consistently in the surveys, said Neuner. With legislation now in place for family and resident councils in facilities that is “a great place to have those conversations”.

“A number of facilities consistently score very well and have for a long time and are to be commended,” said Neuner.

Other facilities need to work harder to raise their scores and close the gap, he said. Reports with results of the survey go to each facility helping them to see how they rank compared to others.

Participants were asked how often in the last six months they felt there were enough nurses and aides in the nursing home.

In the south zone 44 per cent felt that was “usually” the case while 23 per cent said “sometimes,” 20 per cent said that was the case “always” and 13 per cent said “never”.

When it comes to “kindness and respect” the provincial average score was 84.9 and in the south zone 86.4. Top scorers in the south zone included Taber Health Centre at 97.9 and Bow Island Health Centre 97.3. Locally, Sunnyside scored 89.5, Riverview 89.2, River Ridge 88.0 and Good Samaritan 82.9.

For those living in a seniors residence, meals can be a big part of the day. The provincial average satisfaction score was 71.7 and in the south zone 69.7. Bow Island Health Centre scored 86.0 and Taber Health Centre 58.0. Locally, Sunnyside rated 76.0, Riverview 73.0, Good Samaritan 64.0, and River Ridge Seniors Village 63.0.

When it comes to meeting the basic needs of residents the provincial average was 90.1 and in the south zone 92.6. Taber Health Centre scored 100 per cent and Bow Island Health Centre 98.3. In Medicine Hat, River Ridge was given 98.7, Good Samaritan 93.0, Sunnyside 89.7, and Riverview 89.5.

In a followup question participants were asked whether, in the previous six months, they’d had to help with toileting because staff “either didn’t help or made him or her wait too long”. In the south zone 39 per cent said yes and 61 per cent said no.

Participants also listed specific aspects that they felt could be improved. These included better enforcement of hygiene standards and having residents dressed in clean clothing. Having more on site special services for health care was requested including increased access to physicians services and physiotherapy.

Although there has been little change to survey results in the last 10 years, Neuner says there are signs that improvements are taking place.

“When we look at it overall it is not as great as we feel that is ought to be,” said Neuner.

The HQCA survey in 2016 showed the results of 26 facilities in the south zone while this year there were only 15.

“All south zone facilities were surveyed. None were missed. We gave all family members a chance to do the survey. Everyone was eligible,” said a spokesperson for HQCA.

In the latest survey three south zone facilities were not included. Cardston and Raymond did not have enough respondents to ensure anonymity and reliability. AgeCare Valleyview’s response rate was too low, said the spokesperson.

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