Families of COVID-19 victims call for change to B.C. senior care system

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A month after Sandra Cairns became a victim of COVID-19 at the Lynn Valley Care Centre, her family remains haunted by her final days.

“We couldn’t go there. We couldn’t hold her hand. We couldn’t tell her we loved her,” said Anita Coueffin-Cairns, holding back tears.

Cairns’ daughter-in-law said she called the centre repeatedly trying to get an update on the 80-year-old’s condition. After demanding to speak to manager, they finally learned Cairns hadn’t eaten in three days.

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“We knew it was the end of her life,” said Coueffin-Cairns. “It makes me wonder. Is the level of care less? I feel like it is.”

The family feels that Cairns, who once worked as a nurse, would want them to fight for change within the for-profit system. Coueffin-Cairns said the B.C. government needs to review senior care which has become the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in British Columbia.

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“They’re profit-driven and I think these seniors become more of a number,” she added.

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCAP) is renewing its call for the provincial government to make senior care the exclusive responsibility of publicly-funded or not-for-profit care centres.

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