Lack of staff, baths a concern in Saskatchewan long-term care homes
Residents of long-term care homes in Saskatchewan and their families have concerns about staffing levels and a lack of baths in the facilities.
Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, November 25, 2015 6:41PM EST
REGINA -- Residents of long-term care homes in Saskatchewan and their families have concerns about staffing levels and a lack of baths in the facilities.
The comments are in reports compiled after health authority CEOs toured seniors homes across the province to see what's working well and what can be improved.
"I think that this report indicates ... we're seeing progress, but not all of the problems have been rectified," Health Minister Dustin Duncan acknowledged Wednesday.
In many of the reports, residents said they would like to have baths more than once a week.
Residents and staff also said that aging nurse call systems often break down and there aren't enough staff, especially in the evenings or overnight.
One resident and family council in Saskatoon said residents "believe their care is being compromised due to low staffing levels."
One of the most critical reports was from St. Mary's Villa in Humboldt, which is part of the Saskatoon Health Region.
The report said "staff and management of this home are frustrated, that there are no concrete plans to address long-standing infrastructure issues." It noted that one wing of the home has been closed due to structural problems for more than three years.
The St. Mary's report also said "an increased number of resident falls has been noted and is being investigated to determine the root cause."
St. Mary's is the same seniors home where a gas leak from a boiler contributed to the deaths of three residents and made dozens of others sick in December 2010.
Duncan said St. Mary's is "an ongoing concern."
"That's a little bit more of a longer-term issue that we're going to have to address, because of the significant problems that we've had in that facility."
The Saskatchewan government put up $10 million in October 2013 to address urgent issues in care homes and boosted that a further $3.8 million in December 2013 to address ongoing pressures.
Duncan said more than 700 pieces of equipment, such as lifts, bathtubs and mattresses, have been installed in homes across the province over the last couple of years.
"It's been a big undertaking by the system. It shows the needs that were out there and continue to be out there," said Duncan.
"In terms of fixing the problems in long-term care, the work is going to continue. We're not going to arrive at that by a particular date. This is going to be an ongoing process."