la ronge, sk

An 84-year-old woman with terminal cancer and a broken foot could not find any long term care openings in her community, forcing her to move into a women's shelter.

"I ended up in the shelter which was fine," Barbara Blyth said Wednesday. "My big complaint is that for the whole of the health district there are only 17 available spaces for care and despite lobbying, nothing is being done by the current government."

Blyth, who lives in La Ronge, learned the 17 long term care spaces were filled and there was no space to care for her in the community's acute care facility.

She found she could not stay in her own home any longer because of her broken foot and the fact that her furnace had conked out.

Blyth has bone cancer and says her symptoms are treatable but the cancer can not be cured and she does not want to leave the north to die.

Blyth said doctors and nurses in Saskatchewan's north are doing the best they can with very limited resources.

She said she is concerned that more people are not raising the issue of access to long term care.

"The general public don't seem to be inclined to make a fuss," she said. "Well, this little old lady wants to make a fuss."

The minister of health said he would look into Blyth's situation.

"I need to follow up," Dustin Duncan said Wednesday, after identifying a number of potential options.

He went on to say there are examples across Saskatchewan of health regions which have relatively good access to long term care in some parts of the region and poor access in other parts of the region.

"We do need to look at some options to address some of those issues," he said, noting that health officials have known of shortages of long term care in the northeast for some time.

With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger