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Vancouver care home cited for inadequate communicable disease control, staffing

Little Mountain Place lost 41 residents to COVID-19
Little Mountain Place lost 41 residents to COVID-19 in the space of seven weeks dating back to late November 2020. File photo Dan Toulgoet
A Vancouver long-term care home ravaged by 41 COVID-19 deaths has been cited in an investigation by its region’s health agency for inadequate staffing, hygiene and communicable disease control.

The contraventions under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act occurred at Little Mountain Place on East 36th Avenue and were driven by complaints that Vancouver Coastal Health substantiated Feb. 2, 2021.

The information is posted on the health agency’s website but does not say when the contraventions occurred or how long staffing and poor cleaning of the 117-room facility were concerns for complainants.

The 41 deaths at Little Mountain — the most at a B.C. care home since the pandemic was declared in March 2020 — occurred in the space of seven weeks beginning in late November 2020.

Over that same period, more than 70 staff and 99 residents tested positive for the virus at Little Mountain, which is overseen by Little Mountain Residential Care and Housing Society.

The facility has since had no reported outbreaks.

Vancouver Coastal Health conducted its investigation based on a complaint or complaints related to “staffing” and “hygiene and communicable disease control,” according to the residential care complaint investigation summary report.

The report is in the form of a spreadsheet and does not provide specifics on when the complaint or complaints were registered, by whom or whether any penalties were imposed, other than citing the contraventions under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act.

Under the “contravention” column, there is a notation that reads: “VCH MHO enhanced cleaning.” (VCH is the acronym for Vancouver Coastal Health and MHO is shorthand for medical health officer.)

The same column cites section 42 of the Residential Care Regulation, which falls under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, related to “staffing coverage.”

The section states that:

• A licensee must ensure that, at all times, employees are sufficient in numbers, training and experience and organized “in an appropriate staffing pattern” to meet the needs of persons in care and assist them with activities of daily living, “including eating, moving about, dressing and grooming, bathing and other forms of personal hygiene, in a manner consistent with the health, safety and dignity of persons in care.”

• In addition, a licensee must ensure persons in care who require supervision when outside the facility are appropriately supervised — and that at all times, there are employees on duty who can communicate effectively with all persons in care.

Glacier Media contacted Vancouver Coastal Health Monday via email and requested more details on the investigation. The agency had not provided a response by the time this story was posted.

In January, Dr. Patricia Daly, chief medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, said in an interview that a health agency team began investigating Little Mountain Place under the Community Care and Assisted Living Act, which was triggered by a complaint from a family member of a resident.

“That investigation alone wouldn’t necessarily be all the lessons that we might learn from this particular outbreak,” she said at the time, noting the investigation was narrow in scope and to examine regulations that apply to the licensing of Little Mountain.

It wasn’t clear Monday whether that investigation is what led to the contraventions cited in the report posted on the agency’s website.

Management at Little Mountain Place and its society’s president have yet to reply for interview requests made by Glacier Media over several months.

Two weeks ago, Glacier Media reported that the widow and daughter of a man who was a former resident of Little Mountain launched a lawsuit against the society that oversees the facility.

The health agency’s report lists six other residential care homes in the region, including a drug and alcohol recovery home and a child and youth facility, where complaints were substantiated this year.

Details of the contraventions are vague.

The facilities include:

• Banfield Pavilion extended care home, 2785 Ash St., Vancouver. Contravention: Care plan needed if more than 30-day stay.

• Haro Park Centre long-term care home, 1233 Haro St., Vancouver. Contravention: Continuing monitoring of employees.

• Quinton Place Residence child and youth residence, address confidential. Contraventions: Care plan needed if more than 30-day stay, admission screening, reportable incident, staffing, policies and procedures.

• Renfrew Care Centre long-term care home, 1880 Renfrew St., Vancouver. Contravention: Staffing coverage.

• Sunrise of Lyn Valley long-term care home, 980 Lynn Valley Rd., North Vancouver. Contravention: Visitor policy and screening.

• Together We Can treatment home, 2831 Kingsway, Vancouver. Contravention: Admission screening.

Vancouver Coastal Health’s area of responsibility includes Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver and stretches to the Sunshine Coast and Bella Coola.