Saskatchewan

Province ignored recommendations to make Sask. long-term care safer for seniors: Opposition

The Official Opposition called out the province during Tuesday's legislative session for not making meaningful changes to Saskatchewan's long-term care system.

Long-term care system has failed many seniors, especially during the pandemic: NDP 

Rose Botting's mother Frances Sander, then 82, fell in her room at her residence at the Rose Villa care facility in Rosetown in April 2018. She died three days later. (CBC News)

The Official Opposition called out the province during Tuesday's legislative session for not making meaningful changes to Saskatchewan's long-term care system.

The NDP say the system has failed many seniors, especially during the pandemic. 

Saskatoon resident Rose Botting was in attendance at the session. Her late mother, Frances Sander, then 82, fell in her room at her residence at the Rose Villa care facility in Rosetown in April 2018.

According to an August report by the provincial ombudsman, Sander was assessed upon admission as having a high risk of falling. She fell and was found beside her bed her first night there.

 

Hundreds of seniors have died in deplorable conditions in long-term care, and this government hasn't learned a single lesson.- Matt Love, Official Opposition critic for seniors

Five days later, she fell again and was discovered both bleeding and unresponsive on the floor of her bathroom. She was taken to the hospital where she died three days later.  

On Tuesday, Botting told reporters she wants to make sure seniors are safe in Saskatchewan long-term care homes. 

"I hope that seniors care is more of a priority," she said. "We do need standards for senior care … we need training, we need funding. We need staffing. I don't expect it to happen overnight, but I'd really like to see some movement."  

Ombudsman's recommendations

The ombudsman's report on the case called for further measures to protect seniors in long-term care, including a recommendation that the Saskatchewan Health Authority develop and implement a "single, comprehensive, province-wide, adverse health event reporting and investigation process."

The report says the investigation process should clearly identify the notification, reporting and investigative requirements and processes for all special-care homes and other facilities operated by the SHA. 

Matt Love, Official Opposition critic for seniors, says the Saskatchewan government has ignored experts for years, especially when it comes to long-term care. (CBC)

However, the NDP say the province has taken no steps to ensure further protection. 

"We've known that this government has been ignoring experts for years, and this is especially true in long-term care," Matt Love, Official Opposition critic for seniors, said during question period. 

"Report after report from oversight bodies like the auditor and the ombudsman provide a roadmap of how to make long-term care more safe in Saskatchewan. Their recommendations were ignored. We still are not inspecting or reporting on conditions in long-term care.

"Hundreds of seniors have died in deplorable conditions in long-term care, and this government hasn't learned a single lesson."

Everett Hindley, Saskatchewan's minister for seniors, says a new long-term care home inspection process will be piloted and announced in a number of communities soon. (CBC)

Everett Hindley, minister of Seniors and Rural and Remote Health, responded that work is being done to make long-term care homes safer for Saskatchewan seniors.

"There's a number of areas that we need to improve on … previous recommendations from whether it's the auditor or the Ombudsman's office … those are being implemented," Hindley said. 

"It's my understanding that work is well underway on implementing those recommendations as a result of this particular critical incident. And it would be my expectation that that is done as quickly as possible."

Hindley says a new, long-term care home inspection process will be piloted and announced in a number of communities soon. He says the province will provide details on in the coming days. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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