An Alberta senior has gone public with allegations of misery, physical abuse and substandard living conditions at a long-term care centre.
Beverley Munro says staff in her ward at the Edmonton General Hospital physically manhandle her to get her to bed, and three months ago ripped her earlobe when her dressing gown got caught in her earring.
"She just gave it a rip and off came the bottom of the ear," Munro said Tuesday at a news conference called by the NDP at the legislature.
Staff took too long in dressing the wound and her ear will now be permanently disfigured, she said.
"I thought somebody should do something. There are other people in there. You can't just rip people around."
Munro said there are other problems at the facility, which is run by Covenant Health for the province.
The 65-year-old lost her left leg to gangrene four years ago and also has restricted mobility on one side due to a stroke.
She said the doors are manually operated, which makes it difficult to get around in her wheelchair. The hallways have been lined with tarps for years to hide buckets catching rain water from leaky roofs.
The elevator goes on the fritz three times a month, she said, leaving her trapped inside for over an hour at one point.
Staff hustle patients around, sometimes physically manhandling or grabbing them by their clothing, Munro said. She gets worried when staff test the temperature of her bath water because they wear gloves while doing so.
Care for seniors 'appallingly bad,' NDP leader says
Substandard conditions and her ear being ripped were the reasons she wrote to the NDP, said Munro, who sat beside party leader Brian Mason during the news conference.
Mason showed recent pictures of the tarps in the hallways and suggested that despite comments from Premier Alison Redford's government that seniors are a priority, Munro's living conditions are not unique.
"The care for seniors in this province is appallingly bad in many instances," said Mason.
"Short-staffing is the common thread here. People are not getting adequate nutrition. People are not getting bathed. People are not being treated with dignity."
Al Pierog, vice-president in charge of seniors health for Covenant, said they will work with Munro to resolve her issues.
"I'm very sorry she feels her care is not up to standard," said Pierog.
Regarding the ear incident, he said, "We have completed an investigation and worked with the resident on this, and we'll certainly continue to be open to review any concerns or any incidents that any of our residents bring to our attention."
Pierog says the leaky roof was fixed a year ago but tarps are still up to protect patients and staff from other ongoing repairs and renovations.
He also said the policy is staff do not use gloves to test bath water.
Health Minister Fred Horne said he hadn't heard specific concerns about Munro's ward, but acknowledged: "It is an aging facility. I think everyone in the city knows that. And there are infrastructure challenges there like there are in many of our continuing-care facilities."
Horne noted the province has allocated $5 billion in capital spending for health care.
Redford, responding to NDP questions in the house, said the government "will do everything we can to ensure that vulnerable Albertans are protected."