Daughter shocked over Christmas meal served at father's nursing home

Darlene Mitchell says she was shocked to see her father was served some sandwich meat, a bun and some macaroni salad for supper in his Regina nursing home on Christmas Day.

Darlene Mitchell says her father was served sandwich meat, a bun and some "watery macaroni salad"

Darlene Mitchell says that her father was served lunch meat, a bun and macaroni salad for dinner on Christmas day. (Darlene Mitchell/Facebook)

On Christmas Day when many people across Saskatchewan were feasting on turkey, Darlene Mitchell's dad was eating bologna. 

Mitchell went to visit her father for the holiday at Pioneer Village, a publicly-run Regina nursing home, and was dismayed at what was being served there that day.

A piece of bologna, a piece of salami, a bun and some "watery macaroni salad" was served up for seniors at the home, according to Mitchell.

The province said that a Christmas meal was served earlier in the day, but Mitchell said the later meal was not the first time her father has been served a substandard meal.

"It's dismal, it's depressing, it's sad and it's horrible that [this is how] these people are living the last years of their life. So what would I like changed? A hot meal," she told CBC News on Saturday. 

Mitchell said she was not only concerned about the quality of the Christmas meal, but also the nutritional value. 

"This is Christmas day, but it's not acceptable any day. Somebody meal-planned this meal. Somebody thought this was a good idea," said Mitchell.

Darlene Mitchell says she is upset and shocked by the cold cut supper served to her father at Pioneer Village in Regina on Christmas day. (Facebook/Darlene Mitchell)
She says there were no vegetables included in the meal and, as for fruit, watered-down apple sauce was served for dessert.

"I think we need better thinkers in charge of things like feeding our seniors," said Mitchell.

Mitchell took a picture of the meal and posted it to social media Christmas day. The post now has more than 1,000 shares. 

Province says turkey dinner served at noon

In an emailed statement, the provincial government said Pioneer Village has served the same meal for Christmas dinner for 25 years and the residents received a full turkey dinner at lunchtime. 

The Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region says the lighter cold cut meal was served to balance out the larger noon meal.

"We make sure the nutritional needs of our residents are met," said Michael Redenbach, vice-president of integrated health services with the health region. 

Michael Redenbach, vice-president for integrated health services at the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region, says registered dietitians work with staff at special-care homes to develop nutritious meal plans. (Roxanna Woloshyn/CBC)
Redenbach said the health region works with registered dietitians to develop nutritious meal plans based on the provincial government's special-care home guidelines.

"I don't think we expect any one meal to provide all of the nutritional value that a resident would need. We need to look at the entire meal plan," said Redenbach.

A meal plan for Pioneer Village was not immediately available.

Minimum care standards needed, NDP says

NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said meals like these are not acceptable any day of the year.

"It doesn't provide the dignity that anyone deserves and it doesn't provide the basic health and nutrition that's so important to anyone," said Wotherspoon.

The Opposition is calling for minimum care standards to be set in seniors' homes, including food and nutrition standards, and a seniors' bill of rights.

Pioneer Village is the largest seniors' care home in Saskatchewan. 

With files from CBC's Roxanna Woloshyn


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