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CONTRIBUTION · 10th December 2010
Joanne Ong
I have been bothered for awhile now by things I see happening in our health care system and the fact that so many of us are sitting by watching these things happening and feeling there is nothing we can do about it so why try.

It’s very hard to know that we have hospital administration that, after emigrating from Britain, seems to be intent only on cost cutting and it doesn’t seem to matter the consequences to the people in care…in all levels at our hospital. These are the directives administration has been given by Northern Health Authority. I am hoping that the rumor circulating that our hospital administrator receives money to cover travel expenses to commute to Kitimat from Terrace is untrue. He was hired as an administrator in Kitimat and CHOSE to live in Terrace, the expense should be his own.

I see so many changes taking place and I know a few braves souls have written some letters and others have talked about concerns that could affect their livelihood. I wish I had kept the letters so I could speak to them but – I’ll try to share a few concerns I have with you. I become so angry when I see what’s happening and the changes that many don’t seem to realize are happening. Even the editorial in The Sentinel reflects some concern over what is happening to OUR hospital.

My mother lives in Mountainview Lodge (MLC) and I can remember her receiving a letter saying that charges were going up because they wanted to maintain the care of the people who lived in residence. I am seeing things becoming more and more eroded in the hospital in general. Things are happening like reports only being saved on the computer and if looking for information now it involves hospital staff looking at a computer for each result instead of information being charted and available on charts for doctors and necessary staff.

In MLC, for awhile there, our loved ones were receiving excellent care. I can see the staff is now becoming burnt out and unable to safely keep up with all the work and I am concerned that our administration seems to be constantly looking to makes cuts. PLEASE PEOPLE – become concerned and tell them that our health care system and OUR hospital cannot suffer having more cuts to staff that affect health and safety. More cuts are being made that will affect the housekeeping and have an impact on nursing staff as a result of these cuts. There are instances where two care nurses must help out a patient and they are running doing new things in their job descriptions now. People require toileting and now will be forced to wait longer because staff doesn’t have the time to do what needs doing. This will cause an increase in incontinence which is very hard on the patient. I found one person crying because this bothered her so much to see things already being eroded. If you have a loved one there it is easy to see the differences.

Housekeeping is now delegated X number of minutes in the rooms and then given a different job description that includes cleaning hospital lobby, Dr. offices, 2nd floor of hospital, etc. Things where people ‘see work being done’ but they don’t ‘see’ or ‘know’ what isn’t being done. Floors that were washed daily at MLC will now be done once a week. Things end up on the floor on a regular basis there, including bodily fluids. With the cuts in housekeeping it won’t be long before the unit starts to smell. It’s pretty poor practice when Northern Health is no longer concerned with maintaining sanitary conditions. They continue to scrap the morale.

Multi-level wasn’t always the place it has become now. In the past it was run by a part time, mostly absent manager – which was horrible. Now they have a manager who speaks up for her staff and advocates for the residents of the unit. But, I believe that directives are coming from Mr. Cooper and/or somebody in the Terrace Office that involves these cuts which result in the erosion of confidence, lack of care, disregard to safety and cleanliness. I have not talked with the manager of the unit but I’m sure these cuts are being made ‘over her head’ and not by her. I believe I am right in feeling this.

I am very ashamed of the Northern Health Unit that would hire administrators with no emotions, to cut and cut and cut positions and then reward them for this with raises and possibly bonuses. This is our tax money and I know the people involved were hired to do these things, but shame on you, shame on our government for allowing this all to happen and this town for not becoming furious at you.

At one time our town and its people had not given up. I’m hoping there is still some fight and caring and that something can be done to stop all this chopping of essential positions. Sadly, administration is just “doing their job” by cutting corners without any regard to the patients in care or the workers.

Please – become caring and involved in OUR hospital. It is OUR hospital and it is not okay for our government and NHA to cause the sweeping changes that are happening and in such a way that it seems many are not aware of them. Kitimat please wake up and realize what is happening.

Sincerely,

Joanne Ong.
writing on the wall
Comment by Paul Frank on 15th December 2010
The writing is on the wall here for the employees at KGH.Like all the rest of the Health Authorities in B.C this one will also soon be privatized.Dietary,housekeeping,laundry,maintenance and care aides will all be working for less money and longer hours for contract groups that will bid on these departments.Bad managment in KGH has caused too much unnessacary overtime in these departments.Staff moral is at an all time low and some employees are overworked to the point it is dangerous for them and the patience they work with.The bottom line here needs to be patience and residence care and these employees are hired to provide what is best for them.As for cutting from the top,well no that wont happen and when they contract all the services out they will have more money to put a few more on the payroll!
Oh Joanne...
Comment by dawna marie ottenbreit on 14th December 2010
I was saddened to read your artlcle regarding care at Mountainview Lodge. My husband was a resident who suffered from dementia and spent four years in Terraceview Lodge.
All the concerns you voice echo mine and many others who also had loved ones in care.
We fought so hard to have the resident/staff ratio increased and when the rate increases were announced, it was promised that the money would go directly to resident care. To my knowledge, that promise has not been kept.
Those of us who were aware of the quality of care and maintenance once enjoyed at Mountainview Lodge were to say the least, envious, and looked to your facility as an example of what a residential home should be.
My husband passed on recently and while I have nothing but the highest praise for those wonderful, caring health care workers who looked after him , I belive that they work too hard and burn out. I also believe it is long past time that we look to curtailing corporate expenditures, demand accountability and spend health care dollars where they deserve to be spent..on patient care.
Well done
Comment by Daniel Carter on 14th December 2010
Thanks for that Joanne. We all need to hear what is happening with the cuts, not just what the general public usually hears with the front end such as imaging and the lab although they are just as important, but what is being cut from the support workers as well, considering it is our tax dollars at work, the public should be informed. The public should have a say in how these cuts are implemented. I know where they could save loads of money and if it were up to us taxpayers, that could be a reality. The cuts should start at the top, not the backbone of the healthcare system. The support workers are what keeps NH functioning properly and that is now being stressed to the breaking point. The once well oiled machine is getting seized up.