This week, BC Seniors Living Association (BCSLA) celebrated the first member site to earn its new Seal of Approval (SoA) designation under their revitalized standards program. Sunridge Gardens, a Bria Communities Seniors’ Residence in Langley was the first site to successfully earn the association’s SoA designation under the newly designed audit program.
“This is an exciting time for BCSLA as we employ a revitalized standards review program that requires our member communities to operate at exceedingly high levels while setting a foundation for their continuous improvement going forward,” said BCSLA CEO, Lee Coonfer. “This innovative assessment tool has been over a year in development and could not come at a better time in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The operating environment for seniors’ communities has changed in the ten years since the SoA was introduced and over a year ago BCSLA embarked on an ambitious revitalization of its SoA to ensure that the assessment tool continues to be effective and reflective of today’s realities. In December of 2019, Think Research, a Canadian health technology and clinical standardization company, was engaged to build the SoA on a proprietary platform that would allow sites to not only participate in a virtual assessment tailored to their community but to collect site data that can be used to establish the baseline for a comprehensive continuous improvement program unique to the community. As an additional innovation and improvement, the new SoA digital platform will now provide sites with real time updates on provincial operating orders and guidelines. Even though this function was designed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, its importance has increased given the volume of directives from the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control.
BCSLA has also partnered with UBC’s School of Nursing and its Masters in Health Leadership and Policy (MHLP) program where Masters Students participating in the program will act as assessors. “BCSLA’s new SoA program shows just how academia and industry can collaborate to creative truly innovative and creative programs to ensure a high level of standards and continuous quality improvements in a sector that has undergone tremendous scrutiny since COVID-19,” said Jennifer Baumusch of UBC’s School of Nursing.
“We were thrilled to be part of the pilot project for the new Seal of Approval process and to have Sunridge Gardens be the first community to achieve the redeveloped Seal of Approval,” says Tanya Snow, Director of Bria Communities. “We want to be part of an association that wants to promote and advocate for self-regulation in our industry. This gives us the chance to showcase what independent senior living is and be an autonomous industry.”
Shannon Saunders, General Manager for Sunridge Gardens, notes that achieving the new Seal of Approval was rigorous, “This is a much more in-depth process; it was intense. But it was also more relevant to the kind of service we want to offer to Independent Living residents like ours.”
This milestone for Sunridge Gardens coincides with their tenth anniversary. “Senior living has changed so much since we first opened our doors,” reflects Saunders, who has been part of the Sunridge Gardens team since the beginning. “What hasn’t changed is our desire to provide the best service and support to seniors. I know it gives our residents peace of mind knowing that we’re held to a high set of standards laid out in the Seal of Approval.”
“We’re constantly looking to improve our residents’ experience and address their changing needs,” says Tanya Snow, “The revitalized Seal of Approval pushes us to offer the highest level of senior living.”
Think Research’s Chief Administrative Officer and Seniors Care Lead, Joanna Carroll, said “Think Research is thrilled to see the SoA program in action and being used to achieve the highest standards of care. We are committed to working with the BCSLA and its members to ensure the latest best practices are implemented across senior living facilities in British Columbia. Congratulations to Sunridge Gardens on achieving this significant designation.”