Saskatchewan

Sask. woman questions extent of COVID-19 restrictions at mother's long-term care facility

A Saskatchewan daughter said her mom has been “confined” to her room at a government run health-care facility due to COVID-19. 

Government says homes were advised to ensure distance and compliance

'You don't know they're being treated fairly or lovingly,' says a Saskatchewan woman who is unable to see her mother in long-term care due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Shutterstock / Rawpixel.com)

A Saskatchewan woman said her mother was "confined" to her room at a government run health-care facility due to COVID-19. 

"She called me crying which is unusual for her. She likes to complain but she doesn't usually weep right?" She said. "She called me crying, 'What's the point of being alive if I can't go anywhere, do anything or see anybody.'"

CBC has granted the woman confidentiality because she fears her mom could be reprimanded or treated differently because of her daughter speaking out. The facility is located in the southern half of the province. 

The daughter said through tears that what her mom was reporting made her feel helpless. 

"You feel really bad when your parent is in long-term care," she said, adding that normally you can at least visit and bring them things. That bit of reprieve has been removed because of COVID-19. 

"You don't know they're being treated fairly or lovingly," she said. "When you go up and visit you can see how the staff treats them, you can weigh their complaints against reality so to speak, but in this situation you have no idea what's going on." 

According to a Ministry of Health spokesperson, long-term care facilities run by the government or in partnership with it "were advised to alter their dining and recreation processes to ensure safe distances could be maintained,"  in order "to ensure safe social distancing and compliance with the 10 person per space limit in the public health order. 

This included residents being served meals in their rooms or gatherings of smaller numbers. 

The daughter who spoke with CBC said her mother's facility stopped gatherings all together. 

She said visitation rights were the first to go in March and then the situation got progressively worse. First, residents ate at a distance in the dining room and then they had to eat alone in their rooms. 

"When I noticed the change was around [April] 30 when she said, 'I don't belong in here I can't stand this.'" 

The daughter said she didn't understand why, if the facility was monitoring and cohorting the staff, residents couldn't engage together. 

"If something comes in there, it's going to come from the staff," she said. 

She said she believes the home is "trying very hard to keep everybody safe," but said perhaps they are doing too much with so few cases in the area. 

Furthermore, she said that from her perspective, she would be willing to take the risk of having her mom allowed to leave her room or eat with her peers. She tries to call her mother as much as she can, and said that after she pressed facility staff they began to let her mother go for "little walks" with permission. 

"I get that we don't want to be one of those people that has the whole care home die because of one careless thing," she said. "But on the other hand — if they're all completely crazy at the end of this what's the point of living another year longer if you live in an eight-by-eight room?" 

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