The Bulkley Lodge, a long-term care home in Smithers. Last month B.C.’s labour minister Harry Bains announced changes to the province’s labour code that will increase protection for health care workers and others affected by the re-tendering – or “flipping” – of service contracts. (Trevor Hewitt photo)
The Bulkley Lodge, a long-term care home in Smithers is temporarily not admitting new residents, but Northern Health says it will resume regular admissions soon. (File photo)

The Bulkley Lodge, a long-term care home in Smithers. Last month B.C.’s labour minister Harry Bains announced changes to the province’s labour code that will increase protection for health care workers and others affected by the re-tendering – or “flipping” – of service contracts. (Trevor Hewitt photo) The Bulkley Lodge, a long-term care home in Smithers is temporarily not admitting new residents, but Northern Health says it will resume regular admissions soon. (File photo)

Bulkley Lodge staffing problem nears end: Northern Health

The Smithers long-term care facility anticipates a return to regular admissions in September

A suspension of new admissions to the Bulkley Lodge may soon be coming to an end.

Eryn Collins, a spokesperson for Northern Health said a staffing problem is close to being resolved and the Lodge expects to resume its regular admissions in September.

“Bulkley Lodge, like many facilities in the North and beyond, has experienced staffing challenges recently,” she said in an email to The Interior News. “The decision was made in late June to temporarily suspend new admissions, in order to ensure ongoing provision of safe, quality care. No residents have been relocated from the facility; only new admissions have been temporarily impacted.”

The temporary shortage raised concerns from family members of people waiting to get into the Lodge.

“Currently a family member is living at The Meadows senior home but has to move out because he can no longer live independently so now he is in the hospital,” said Laura Blackwell, publisher of the Lakes District News and Houston Today. “I have been up to visit him several times now that he is in the hospital and I started chatting with his roommate. He told me he is waiting to get into the Lodge too but he doubts he will ever get there and told me when he leaves the hospital it will probably be in a body bag.”

“The situation has probably put more demand in your hospital as I walk through on the third floor almost every person there is an older person probably all waiting for a bed at the Lodge.”

Collins did not address the possible impact the suspension had on the Bulkley Valley Regional Hospital.

“Fortunately, the staffing situation has recently seen some improvement, and the site is planning to begin to return to regular admissions in September,” she said.

“We’re proud of the care that our staff provide to Bulkley Lodge residents, despite recent staffing challenges and the many changes that have been implemented in recent months both in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and to address staffing pressures.”

Collins encouraged people with concerns about their care or that of their loved ones to speak with facility leadership, and if there is not a satisfactory result to connect with the NH Patient Care Quality Office.

Healthcare