As a visitor on these lands, SafeCare BC acknowledges and thanks the Coast Salish Nations of Musqueum, Tsieli-Waututh, and Squamish on whose ancestral and unceded homelands we work, learn, and live. This unceded land was never surrendered, relinquished, or handed over.
In our work across British Columbia, we acknowledge the ancestral and unceded territory of all the Indigenous People that call this land home. As people living and working on these lands, we recognize that we are accountable to the laws of the People who have cared for this land.
We invite you to reflect with us on the effect of residential schools and colonialism on Indigenous families and communities and consider how we can move forward in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration.
As we reflect on 2022, many highlights and memorable events stand out for us at SafeCare BC. Despite the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic, we made significant strides in our mission to promote health and safety in the workplace.
One of our significant accomplishments in 2022 was the establishment of five new satellite training centers with AgeCare BC. These centers allowed us to expand our reach and provide more opportunities for caregivers to receive the training they need to deliver quality care safely.
Chair SafeCare BC
2022 was a year of continued challenges in continuing care – but also renewed hope with the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine, changes in restrictions, and a return to in-person activities. At SafeCare BC, we welcomed several new team members – Jennifer Derksen, Mark Ryan, Kunval Mahmood, Lisa Thibault, and Christine Liu. We also said goodbye to team members who had a significant impact on shaping our organization.
JOINT HEALTH AND SAFETY REFRESHER COURSES
New online courses developed.
Care to Speak interactions
An interview with Maxwell Nichol, Providence Living
Violence prevention in healthcare settings is critical to ensuring staff and resident safety. As a peer facilitator for Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum, Maxwell has provided valuable violence prevention education to healthcare workers. In a recent interview, Maxwell shared his experiences with violence prevention training and how he has implemented this knowledge in his workplace.
Maxwell, a nurse for 17 years, has always been involved in code white teams in acute care. Three years ago, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Maxwell switched to a new LPN supervisor role. He noticed no one was doing infection control education, so he signed up for education to take on this role. Shortly after, the educators on the site left, leaving a gap in violence prevention education. Maxwell stepped up to the plate and volunteered to provide the education if the company would get him signed up for the training.
After a year and a half, Maxwell went to Vancouver to receive the training. He has been providing violence prevention education for seven months, doing in-person instruction monthly. SafeCare BC training provided Maxwell with valuable information, and he felt that the package he received as a facilitator was amazing. The instructors were clear, supportive, and offered great insights.
Maxwell’s role as a peer facilitator involves providing education to healthcare workers on violence prevention. However, staffing issues have made it challenging to work through the backlog of healthcare workers who need this education. Still, everyone who has gone through the training has found it beneficial.
The importance of violence prevention training in healthcare settings cannot be overstated. Violence against healthcare workers is a widespread problem and can lead to serious physical and mental health consequences. Moreover, it can result in high staff turnover rates, lost productivity, and burnout. Healthcare facilities need to invest in violence prevention education to ensure the safety and well-being of their staff and patients.
Maxwell’s experience as a peer facilitator for the Provincial Violence Prevention Curriculum highlights the importance of violence prevention training in healthcare settings. His dedication to providing education on this critical topic is commendable and will help ensure a safer work environment for his colleagues in healthcare.
TOP gives us a unique opportunity to see the needs of participating organizations and develop tools and resources that benefit the participants and the whole sector. An example is that we saw that JOHS Committees could benefit from added support.
Leading from the Inside Out provides a safe space for continuing care leaders to share their mental health challenges and learn self-care best practices. In 2022, 46 participants joined the Leading from the Inside Out program – 28 in January and 18 in September.
SafeCare BC hosted the inaugural Support Services Appreciation Day in partnership with our members on September 22, 2022. Member organizations were encouraged to share stories and nominate support service workers who go above and beyond to provide care.
The seventh annual Hearts and Hands conference for healthcare assistants returned in a big way, continuing the tradition of celebrating, educating and inspiring. We held in-person conferences for the first time in three years.
Providing high-quality care to patients and residents in the continuing care sector is a critical responsibility that requires specialized skills and knowledge. It is vital to ensure that healthcare workers have the necessary training and support to maintain a safe and healthy environment for themselves and those in their care. The Peer Facilitator Program is one initiative designed to meet this need
We continue to expand capacity to provide in-person health and safety education across British Columbia by establishing satellite training centres across the province to ensure that workers in the continuing care sector have access to quality education and professional development opportunities.
The collaboration between SafeCare BC and the Alzheimer Society of BC provides continuing care workers in BC with person-centred dementia education opportunities and resources. As our memorandum of understanding stated, we had previously achieved this through our in-person course – Creating Connections.
SafeCare BC’s annual Safety Den event returned in 2022 after a virtual edition in 2021. The Dragons’ Den-inspired event showcased innovative ideas in the healthcare sector at the BC Care Providers Conference in Whistler and featured 16 unique submissions – 12 in the healthcare category and four in the commercial category.
The Dragons for the event were David Hurford, Kerry Bowman, and Terry Lake, who provided unique insights into the healthcare industry and entertained the crowd with their commentary.
Care for Caregivers offers access to practical mental health webinars and resources for frontline staff, managers, and senior leaders working in long-term and home care organizations. In 2022 there were 18 webinars with a total of 110 attendees.
Over 65% of individuals who participated in webinars deemed the webinars as excellent. In addition, close to 90% of webinar participants learned something that could improve their mental health.
SafeCare BC has launched a new online vaccine education program for healthcare workers and leaders in the sector as part of the Immunization Partnership Funding supported by the Public Health Agency of Canada. This program aims to equip healthcare workers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and resources to engage in informed conversations about vaccination in the workplace. The program provides a deeper understanding of vaccines, addresses common questions and concerns, and promotes respectful discussions.
To ensure the program’s effectiveness, SafeCare BC partnered with Simon Fraser University’s Faculty of Health Sciences to survey members’ attitudes towards the flu vaccine, advising clients during the 2021/2022 flu season and their confidence level in giving vaccine-related advice to others. The survey found that 85% of respondents received the flu vaccine last flu season to protect themselves, their families, clients, and others in their community. Most respondents agreed that vaccines are essential in infection prevention and control and that wearing a mask or washing hands alone is insufficient to prevent getting sick or passing the virus.
SafeCare BC hopes to integrate this program into the curriculum of post-secondary programs training new and upcoming frontline workers. They also plan to share the program with other health and safety associations in their sector on a national level. This initiative aims to provide continuing care workers in BC with knowledge about the importance of immunization in promoting health and safety in the workplace. SafeCare BC believes that such education will increase workers’ immunization rates, allow them to communicate confidently about the topic, and inspire their colleagues, clients, and communities to get vaccinated.
The continuing care sector is a complex and demanding field that requires specialized knowledge and skills. To help students entering the sector gain the relevant health and safety training they need to stay safe at work, we work closely with post-secondary institutions across the province.
Our education offerings are available to students through instructor-led and self-paced online education. Students can access our education directly through their school or us using our peer facilitator program. This approach provides students various options to fit their learning preferences and schedules.
In 2022, our education offerings to students focused on several key areas, including violence prevention, safe handling, psychological well-being, and dementia education. We were proud to provide training to 1,211 students in these areas, helping to equip the next generation of workers with the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves, their colleagues, and care recipients safe.
How likely are you to use what you learned in your workplace?
98% of students indicated they will use what they learned in their workplace.
How much did you learn that will keep you safe at work?
91% of students learned quite a bit or more to keep them safe at work.
Overall, how would you rate your course or workshop?
94% of students rated their course as good or excellent
How would you rate your facilitator(s)?
95% of students rated their instructors as good or excellent.
An interview with Maxwell Nichol, Providence LivingMurvin Swambar, CareCorp
CareCorp is a long-term care provider with over 15 locations in different parts of British Columbia. In an interview, Murvin Swambar, who heads up the OHS department at CareCorp, discussed the importance of training in supporting his team. CareCorp has seen that through the courses delivered by SafeCareBC, they can meet their responsibility for their Health and Safety Committee, reduce injury rates, and increase health and safety engagement for their staff.
“SafeCare courses give us tips and tools on reducing our injury rates and increasing our health and safety engagement for our JOHSC members,” said Murvin.
Murvin emphasized the importance of having a Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee at each location. Despite the challenges of in-person training during COVID-19, CareCorp continued to provide training virtually to its safety committee members. Murvin always ensures that his new safety committee completes the mandatory courses.
When asked about the favourite course for the teams, Murvin mentioned the Safe Handling Facilitator Training session. However, the staff wanted more from this training, and Murvin noted that SafeCare has been very responsive to feedback from members to improve or expand the content of the course.
Finally, Murvin pointed out that the commitment to training plays a significant role in improving the safety culture for JOHSC members. It helps them meet their primary responsibility for their safety committee, reduce injury rates, and increase health and safety engagement.
Survey respondents see SafeCare BC as reliable and consistent in providing workplace health, safety, and education resources. Generally, they think SafeCare BC makes a difference in the work environments across the long-term care, home care and community health support, and independent and assisted living sectors.
SafeCare BC is grateful to have several dedicated volunteers who generously donate their time and expertise to support our members and help us maintain our position as a leading authority on health and safety in the continuing care industry. We extend our appreciation for their valuable contributions.
The volunteer Board of SafeCare BC comprises leaders from the industry and unions who represent our members in long-term care, home, community care, and support sectors, in addition to representation from WorkSafeBC. The Board members represent specific regions of the province, as outlined in the SafeCare BC Health and Safety Association Bylaws.
CEO SafeCare BC
The continuing care sector is evolving rapidly, with increasing demands on staff, systemic challenges, and rising acuity levels among residents and clients. As we look forward to 2023, there are several exciting developments and initiatives that we can expect to see in the sector.
One of the critical areas of focus will be the high injury rates among continuing care workers, which SafeCare BC members identified as a top concern in our member survey. Staff mental health, violence and aggression, injuries related to dementia care, and workplace bullying and incivility are the top four safety concerns. We will launch a campaign to explore mental health and wellness issues, incorporating storytelling, crowdsourcing, information and resource sharing, education, and awareness to address these issues.
In addition, we will expand our mental health support by introducing a new podcast-Care2Listen-featuring stories from our peers in the sector and increasing the hours for Care to Speak. These resources will help provide more support and resources at the point of care, especially for those working short-staffed.
Another crucial area of focus will be promoting innovation in the sector. In 2023, we will host the seventh annual Safety Den event to showcase new and emerging technologies and ideas that can help improve the quality of care provided to residents and clients. For the first time, we are also bringing together sector leaders to discuss the industry’s challenges and opportunities and share best practices and innovative ideas at the inaugural Leaders Forum.
A critical area of innovation will be the development of a workplace civility toolkit. This toolkit will provide real-life scenarios for management and frontline staff to work through to better prepare them for situations that arise in the workplace. This will help promote a culture of respect and civility, reducing workplace bullying and incivility incidents.
Despite systemic challenges, we will continue to find new ways to create meaningful connections. One example is the “Creating Care and Connections” initiative, which will focus on improving the delivery of person-centred care to people with dementia. These short, online modules will be easily accessible, self-paced and quick to complete, providing point-of-care staff with the knowledge and skills they need to create meaningful connections with residents and clients while managing and de-escalating responsive behaviours.
The continuing care sector is evolving rapidly, with new challenges and opportunities constantly emerging. However, with a focus on innovation, support, and collaboration, we can ensure that the sector continues to provide high-quality care to those who need it most.
SafeCare BC strives to empower those connected to the continuing care sector to create a safety culture through evidence-based education, advocacy for safer workplaces, leadership, and collaboration.