Throughout the province there are vulnerable adults who need support from our health care system. A vulnerable adult can be anyone 19 years of age or older who is experiencing physical, mental or emotional mistreatment, or damage to or loss of personal property, and is unable to seek help or support on their own.
Typically, a vulnerable adult will be discovered by a social worker, nurse, doctor or case manager who notices signs of abuse, neglect or self-neglect, or in some cases the adult will report it to them. One way to address these unfortunate circumstances and improve care for vulnerable adults is to identify and investigate cases in a standardized way.
Several years ago, representatives of Vancouver Coastal Health’s (VCH) ReAct Adult Protection Program took the first step, collaborating with BCPSLS Central Office to build and pilot an online tool called the ReAct Reporting System to help them identify cases, launch investigations and track outcomes as part of their work under the Adult Guardianship Act. Early on, the tool was embraced by Providence Health Care social workers; Island Health was next to come on board a few years later as part of their Adult Abuse and Neglect program.
In 2015, the Office of the Seniors Advocate sponsored a project with VCH and other Designated Agencies that brought to light the need for a consistent process that would enable accurate reporting of elder abuse. In that report, the ReAct Reporting System was identified as the appropriate tool to support and further expand in order to meet reporting requirements of the Office of the Seniors Advocate. The ReAct Reporting System has evolved into today’s more comprehensive BCPSLS re:act tool.
And today, thanks to the commitment of BCPSLS leaders from all health authorities and our ongoing partnership with representatives from across the province, we’re excited to announce that the new and improved version – BCPSLS re:act – is now available to all BC health authorities!
To learn more about this important milestone for BC health care, we reached out to Amanda Brown, Director of ReAct at VCH, and Matthew Scott, Clinical Specialist for vulnerable or incapable adults at Island Health. Both have been actively involved in the recent evolution of BCPSLS re:act and agree the new version is a significant step toward helping vulnerable adults in all areas of the province receive the support and attention they deserve.
“Health authorities have legislated requirements as Designated Agencies under the Adult Guardianship Act,” explains Amanda. “This includes receiving and investigating reports of abuse, neglect and/or self-neglect of vulnerable adults, and assessing for financial incapability when the Public Guardian and Trustee is seeking to become Statutory Property Guardian.”
“It’s extremely challenging and complicated work and not something most health care staff have specific training in. I have a great deal of respect for front line providers who must continually learn new processes and technologies that meet the needs of an ever-changing client population. With that in mind, we’ve updated BCPSLS re:act so data entry is quicker and more straight-forward. Standardized language is included where possible and summary reports about the nature and volume of adult protection cases are readily available to health care leaders.”
BCPSLS re:act will allow organizations across the province to identify high-prevalence areas, trend types of abuse, neglect and self-neglect, track interventions and outcomes, record and protect information that is prohibited from being disclosed, and securely store highly sensitive documents related to the investigations and the Statutory Property Guardianship process.
When asked how BCPSLS re:act will support staff at Island Health, Matt says:“We’ve been using the original version of the tool for several years so our staff is very knowledgeable of its functionality and limitations. We’re excited about the upcoming changes because we’ll be able to track volume of Adult Protection/Adult Guardianship cases and assess efficacy of interventions more easily. It will also help us to clearly see what was investigated, where the investigation occurred and the outcome for the patient. Tammy Simpson (BCPSLS Provincial Coordinator) has been integral to helping us understand how the new system will work and our staff are keen because it’s more intuitive and better aligned with our workflow. We expect to see an increase in compliance with the new system. We’re looking forward to it!”
The BC Seniors Advocate, Isobel Mackenzie, fully supports the initiative and has encouraged all health authorities to assist with the successful implementation of the system:
“I am very pleased that the BCPSLS Central Office and the Designated Agencies have done this important work and have been successful in developing a consistent process to enable accurate reporting of elder abuse and neglect data.”
Overview of enhancements to BCPSLS re:act:
- New and improved forms for Designated Responder Coordinators and Designated Responders (frontline staff who coordinate follow-up and investigations of abuse, neglect and/or self-neglect)
- Dashboard reports of suspected and confirmed cases
- “To do” list to track actions and outcomes
- Full-time Provincial Coordinator to support re:act users across the province
Current re:act users will notice significant improvements with the new system. If you have questions or need help with BCPSLS re:act, please contact Tammy Simpson, Provincial Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Health Authority re:act contacts:
- Amanda Brown, Vancouver Coastal Health Amanda.email@example.com
- Anita Ford, Vancouver Coastal Health firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brett Butchart, Interior Health email@example.com
- Julia Peirce, Providence Health Care Julia.firstname.lastname@example.org
- Leanne Lange, Fraser Health Leanne.email@example.com
- Matthew Scott, Island Health firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nancy Mayor, Island Health email@example.com
- Melinda Allison, Northern Health Melinda.firstname.lastname@example.org
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