SafeCare BC – Year-End Sign-off
December 19, 2014 | News
A Year in Review
For SafeCare BC, this past year (including several months at the end of 2013) have been marked by an incredible rate of change. Over this period, SafeCare BC evolved from concept to full-fledged organization. This rapid evolution would not have been possible without the help and support of numerous partners, including the BC Care Providers, WorkSafeBC, the Denominational Health Association, organized labour, employers, and many other health and safety associations both internal and external to British Columbia.
A special thank-you goes out to our members – to those of you who have given generously of your time and feedback to help shape our direction. We are your health and safety association; as such, your input is integral to driving our service and resource development and delivery. If you have not yet had the opportunity to connect with SafeCare BC, I strongly encourage you to do so. We welcome your input, and are always available to provide support if you have any questions.
Looking back on the year, it has been gratifying to witness the process through which SafeCare BC went from a concept on paper, to an operational, value-delivering association. The brief summary of the year’s events below by no means encapsulate all this work, but provide an overview of the incredible growth that has occurred.
Building the Foundation
As with any new organization, a key focus for 2014 has been ensuring the building blocks of a vibrant, grassroots-oriented organization are in place. The journey started in October 2013, when WorkSafeBC approved the industry-led application to create a dedicated health and safety association, SafeCare BC. Following closely on the heels of this successful funding application, work immediately commenced on identifying best-practices with regards to health and safety associations. The BC Care Providers Association played an immense role in initiating this process, and from it, a blueprint for SafeCare BC’s operations was developed.
Linked to this process was the identification of priorities with regards to health and safety issues in continuing care. This took a multi-pronged approach, which included:
- Industry-wide survey of training need priorities, and a follow-up survey to further elucidate organization demographics and resources
- Analysis of injury trend data, as provided by WorkSafeBC
- Literature review of best-practices and safety culture components
The outcome of this process was a clear list of top training priorities, and a larger intervention framework aimed at supporting the development of a culture of safety in the continuing care sector.
Parallel to these processes was the development of SafeCare BC’s governance structure. Throughout 2014, work was done to establish a strong governance base through outreach work, bylaw development, and other governance-related policies. These efforts culminated in November 2014, when the interim Board of SafeCare BC passed the torch to SafeCare BC’s first member-approved Board Directors and Representatives during SafeCare BC’s inaugural extraordinary general meeting.
Early on it was identified that in order to be successful, SafeCare BC needed to challenge the siloed approach to occupational health and safety, and work collaboratively across diverse organizations to create coordinated, aligned initiatives. SafeCare BC has been proactively pursuing relationships with a number of organizations both within and outside of BC.
Notable outreach activities have included: Alzheimer Society of BC; regional health authorities; unions; and industry associations (Alberta Continuing Care Safety Association, Public Sector Health and Safety Association of Ontario, BC Care Providers, Denominational Health Association, Health Employers Association of British Columbia, etc.). Some of these relationships have already begun to create value for members: the Alzheimer Society of BC – SafeCare BC partnership to deliver dementia care training to frontline workers is an excellent example. In addition to these activities, SafeCare BC also partnered with the Partnership for Work, Health, and Safety to support a UBC-led study on measuring safety culture within continuing care organizations. The conclusions from that study are expected in 2015.
SafeCare BC has also embarked upon a concerted effort to reach out to its members. In addition to broadly-focused outreach initiatives (e.g. e-blasts, social media campaigns), SafeCare BC has put significant effort in to directly connecting with its members. To date, over 210 organizations have been directly contacted by SafeCare BC staff. This outreach work is incredibly important to ensure that members are aware of SafeCare BC and its resources, and have an opportunity to provide feedback on how we can help support them in creating safer, healthier workplaces.
Complementing this outreach work, SafeCare BC has been active in supporting industry events. Events of 2014 include:
- BC Care Awards (participant)
- BC Care Providers Conference (speaker, exhibitor, participant)
- BC College of Health Leaders Conference (exhibitor, sponsor, participant)
- BC Care Providers Care To Chat (keynote speaker, panelist)
- Long Term Care: Creating a Safe and Secure Environment (speaker, participant)
The intervention framework created during SafeCare BC’s foundational work led to the identification of four key activity areas for SafeCare BC: SafeCare Train, SafeCare Aware, SafeCare Share, and SafeCare Check. Each area links back to SafeCare BC’s goal of supporting the development of a culture of safety in the continuing care sector.
SafeCare Train encompasses all education and training activities. 2014 saw significant strides in developing this pillar, including the following:
- Launch of the Creating Connections – Working with People with Dementia workshops series
- Development and implementation of the Safe Resident Handling Train-the-Trainer pilot
- Partnership with external organizations (e.g. Lorman Education; Interior Health; etc.) to obtain access to high-quality webinars on topics like violence prevention, safety culture, safe resident handling, and dementia care
SafeCare Aware addresses communications initiatives on key industry issues. Examples from 2014 include:
- #BeCareAware campaign, a multi-media campaign that used video, print, and social media channels. This campaign also received media exposure through a story done by CKNW. This campaign shifted to the second part, We’ve Got Your Back, in October 2014
- On October 17, the Vancouver Sun ran an article titled “Most B.C. nursing home workers experience violence on the job, poll finds”, which summarized the findings of a poll conducted by HEU of its members. SafeCare BC was approached for a comment on the story.
- On October 20th, the Vancouver Sun published a SafeCare BC-authored Op-Ed piece titled “Who is taking care of those who care for our seniors?”. The story was featured in both electronic and print versions of the newspaper, which has a weekly readership base of approximately 900,400.
- Report on industry trends, including injury characteristics and injured worker demographics
- Notification of WorkSafeBC policy changes to the High-Risk Strategy policy
SafeCare Share focuses on sharing best-practices and success stories within the industry. To date, three success stories have been published highlighting practical examples from organizations who are tackling safety issues in their workplace. This initiative will be expanded in following years to include a more formalized venue for best practice-sharing and achievement recognition.
SafeCare Check covers evaluation-based initiatives such as internally or externally-administered safety audits. 2014 activity in this category includes the development of the Safe Resident Handling Facility Self-Evaluation Tool (Safe Resident Handling SET). Safe Resident Handling SET was designed to provide organizations with a comprehensive tool to self-evaluate their policies, implementation frameworks, and communication systems related to safe resident handling. Pending the full pilot evaluation, this tool will be made available to SafeCare BC members in early 2015. Additional work is slated for the near future to develop a complete suite of audit tools.
More information on SafeCare BC’s activities can be found in its Annual Report, available online.
Overall, it has been a year of firsts and of incredible growth. For 2015, SafeCare BC’s focus will shift from one of establishment to one of operationalization, as we continue to build on the positive momentum developed in 2014. Thank-you for all of your support, and for your continued commitment to making the continuing care sector a safer, healthier place to work. Together, we can make a change for the better.
Wishing you a warm holiday season, and a Happy New Year,
Jennifer Lyle, Executive Director, SafeCare BC