Resident care problems at Providence Place have become so serious that one family moved their loved one out, while others say soaring temperatures and understaffing are still putting their loved ones at risk in the care home.
“Families are telling me that basic needs are going unmet at Providence Place,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten in Moose Jaw on Wednesday. “That’s absolutely unacceptable. We can afford to do better in Saskatchewan – but the government has to stop dismissing these concerns. While the Sask. Party takes a head-in-the-sand approach on seniors care and long-term care, people are being put at risk.”
Kim White moved her grandmother, Doreen Wolfe, out of the care home at the end of July, taking a leave of absence from her job to take her grandmother into her own home. The lack of staff and lack of care standards were dangerous at Providence Place, says White.
Wolfe moved into Providence Place, a Moose Jaw long-term care home, in February. Within a week of moving in, the 77-year-old had a broken hip and soon after a six-inch bedsore stretched across her lower back.
White says the neglect her grandmother suffered included being left on the ground after a fall, with a monitor going off but no staff available to respond; being left on the toilet for long stretches of time; and not receiving proper hygienic care. Even during her once-weekly baths her bedsore bandages weren’t changed, so they became soaked in bathwater. White says she was told to give her grandmother less water to prevent her needing to use the bathroom as often.
Lori Boothman says her brother’s room at Providence Place is overheated while the air conditioner is broken – a risk to his health, especially since he struggles to get enough water because of understaffing.
Boothman’s brother Greg, 48, lives in Providence Place. He has advanced Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and, like many living with MS, heat is dangerous to his health – so much so a doctor once wrote him a prescription for “air conditioning.” His 80-year-old mother has to visit daily to help with basics like brushing his teeth and helping him stay hydrated.
The air conditioning unit at Providence Place has been failing for years, and hasn’t worked a single day this hot summer. Portable units only cool the hallways at Providence Place and the air conditioning is not expected to be fixed until fall.
Also because of understaffing, bedsores and infections are common for her brother, says Lori Boothman, who added that on multiple occasions he had been put into bed for the day because staff didn’t have time to properly care for him.
“Families and health care professionals have been speaking out with me for more than a year to remind Mr. Wall once again of the deeply concerning neglect in care homes,” said Broten. “Scrapping the minimum care standards in 2011 was a mistake, and failing to keep up with the growing population of seniors who need care is a mistake that has already cost far too much for too many. It’s time for action to address the seniors care crisis.”
Broten’s NDP has proposed minimum care standards, including staffing ratios, through a private member’s bill, The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act. The Sask. Party voted against that bill. Broten has also proposed a Seniors Advocate office be established to help seniors and their families navigate care options and raise concerns before they become a crisis.