Patient's son signals snack supplies shortage at Placentia nursing home

Not enough tea and toast at Lions Manor for a period of time, prompting an apology from Eastern Health.

Eastern Health says supplies adjusted based on usage but there was miscommunication on how to get more

The son of a patient at Lions Manor in Placentia says staff bring snacks from home so residents don't go without. (Google Street View)

The son of a nursing home patient says the facility doesn't have enough snacks for its residents, but Eastern Health blames miscommunication and says supply levels have been restored.

Terry McGee told CBC's St. John's Morning Show Tuesday that staff at Lions Manor Nursing Home in Placentia — where his mother lives — told the family it was rationing snack foods.

"They wanted to let family members know what was going on so that they could do something about it," he said. 

They can go somewhere else to make their cuts, but they don't need to take food away from the seniors, right?- Terry McGee

"They told me that there was cuts to the food. They ran out of food for snacks on the weekend, and they told me that there was only three loaves of bread allowed for the unit, for 28 residents, and they told me there's 14 slices in a loaf, so that's only 42 so it's not much bread, because the residents eat a lot of toast and tea."

Tea has also been cut, though; he was given a list of cutbacks, including jam and cookies.

McGee said staff told him they've been bringing snacks from home because they don't like to see residents go without, and he brought in bread this week and has been bringing bottled water since Eastern Health cut that out in favour of tap water.

"It's bad enough that you end up in an old age home and that, but to have food and everything cut back from you? This is ridiculous," he said.

"They can go somewhere else to make their cuts, but they don't need to take food away from the seniors, right?"

Judy O'Keefe, of Eastern Health, says it was a supply issue that's been sorted. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Judy O'Keefe, vice-president of long-term care for Eastern Health, which runs the home, said Wednesday that supplies provided to units are audited during the day to make sure there's enough supply.

"Sometimes, based on the resident number and based on usage, we might change that supply on the unit. In this particular case it seems as if there was a change made to the supply," she said.

If usage drops and food is being thrown out, she said, then the amount supplied would be reduced — but the reverse would also happen, she said; if usage increases, then supplies should also be adjusted back up.

"Unfortunately, it wasn't anticipated that the supply wasn't sufficient, and as well, there wasn't, I guess, an adequate process to inform people about how they could get additional supplies for residents. So I think that's what happened here."

Supply levels restored

O'Keefe said Eastern Health learned about the shortage of snacks a couple of days ago, and had restored the levels as of Tuesday.

There wasn't an adequate process to inform people about how they could get additional supplies for residents.- Judy O'Keefe

She apologized for the confusion.

"What should have happened is that we would normally inform all of our staff, so certainly both our kitchen and our nursing staff on the units, of what's happened and the process to get additional supplies should they need it," she said.

"But as well, normally, this is something that we would inform our families of through our family council. In this particular case, unfortunately, that didn't happen, and it did create a fair bit of confusion."

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