Health union says long term care patients at risk

Members of the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan say chronic under staffing is hurting patients.

One quarter of workers surveyed rated care in Saskatchewan as 'poor'

Karen Wasylenko addresses the media in Regina about concerns the union has about long term care in the province. (Rémi Authier/SRC)

A recent survey by the Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan says its members are concerned about long term care in the province. 

The union released the survey results in Regina on Tuesday morning. It says understaffing in all of the province's health regions are putting patient lives at risk. 

"Professional understaffing is a direct threat to the quality of life for long term care residents," said Health Sciences Association President Karen Wasylenko in a release.

Wasylenko said the union is concerned with a lack of nutritionists, occupational therapists, physical therapists and assessment coordinators. The lack of staff can lead to poor nutrition, bed sores, skin infections and long waits for permanent long term care placements, she said.

Seventy-one per cent of the members who responded in February rated the services provided by health regions as either poor or fair. In a follow up survey conducted recently, 80 per cent of respondents said little has changed to improve between now and the last time members were asked. 

The provincial ombudsman released a report about the state of senior's care in Saskatchewan last month. The ombudsman received approximately 90 complaints about care and made 19 recommendations.

The union said it feels the health regions are ignoring those recommendations. 

In a statement the province said that it has accepted all the ombudsman's recommendations and has added close to 800 health care workers since forming government in 2007.


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