Poor care for seniors a source of frustration for health minister
Families assisting loved ones with bathroom needs at care homes
Saskatchewan's minister of health says he is frustrated over continuing reports of concerns over the quality of service provided to seniors living in care homes.
Dustin Duncan has faced repeated questions at the legislature from the Opposition NDP who have brought stories of neglect affecting the lives of elderly patients.
Most recently, the NDP shared the experience of a senior couple where the wife was in a care home and the husband - whose own health was failing - would be there every day to assist his wife with essential needs.
H elping to get the resident out of the bed for toileting ... that's not the level of care that we would expect a family member would have to do.- Health Minister Dustin Duncan
"I personally spend 7 to 8 hours a day, 7 days a week at Saskatoon Convalescent Home looking after Marjorie to make sure she is getting minimal care," John Paul, 77, wrote in a letter to NDP leader Cam Broten.
Paul included a copy of the minutes of a recent meeting of the care home's Resident/Family Council.
Those notes indicate many people were concerned about the quality of care provided to the 59 residents of the home.
"Family members are assisting their loved ones with transfers and toileting because they have to wait too long for assistance," the council noted on Sept. 10.
NDP raise concerns at legislature
This week, Broten and the Opposition hammered the province over the situation, pointing out that even after a review of long-term care homes, and promises to improve, stories of neglect persist.
"When a man in his late 70s has to spend 7 to 8 hours every day at a care facility just to make sure his wife's basic needs are being met, there's a real disconnect from what this government is saying," Cam Broten said.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan said 700 full-time workers in long-term care homes have been hired, in recent years.
Duncan says it is frustrating for him that despite that, problems continue.
"Things like helping to get the resident out of the bed for toileting, things like that, that's not the level of care that we would expect a family member would have to do," Duncan said. "Part of my frustration is knowing that we have significantly increased the full-time complement within long-term care and we know that there still are these stories."
He added he wants to know why homes which seem to have a similar number of workers can have such different levels of care — according to residents.
The opposition says the province has not provided enough funds to ensure proper staffing levels.
Broten adds there should be basic standards for care homes that families can rely on.
"We need a better level of care, we need better minimum standards so that people can, yes, be engaged with their loved ones' care but not feel like they need to be chained to the hospital or the care home just to ensure that their loved one gets the basic care," he said."
With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger