Government is still ignoring the seniors care crisis

Woman hospitalized from dehydration; daughter blames neglect caused by short-staffing

Mary Hohne’s mother, Irene, was rushed to the hospital Saturday because of severe dehydration. Hohne blames a lack of care at the Santa Maria care home, caused by short-staffing.

NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier says the government simply can’t keep ignoring the growing seniors care crisis.

Irene, 75, has lived at the Santa Maria care home in Regina for two years, and needs care because she is living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Hohne says her mother caught a virus in December. Although she recovered from the bug, Hohne says staff didn’t have time to give her mom fluids and help her drink to rehydrate her after she was well again, and she became dehydrated.

Hohne’s mother was hospitalized Saturday for the severe dehydration and an associated urinary tract infection.

“How much more does this government need to hear?” Chartier asked. “Families have come forward with heart-breaking examples of how neglect caused by short staffing has hurt their loved ones. Health care professionals describe a short-staffing crisis on the front lines while the government wastes money on more managers and Lean specialists.

“This government is failing to make changes to guarantee safe and dignified care in Saskatchewan. Even at Santa Maria – which is under the microscope right now – nothing seems to have changed.”

Hohne blames short-staffing for her mom’s hospitalization and failing health, and says she’s speaking out because she doesn’t want other families to go through what her family is going through. She previously brought concerns about her mother’s care to the government’s consultant at Santa Maria -- including poor oral hygiene and her mother being restrained in a standard chair even though she doesn’t need one – and says nothing has been improved.

“We want seniors care prioritized,” said Chartier. “We want enough staff to properly monitor residents, offer them the time and help to eat and drink, offer them regular baths and give them help to the bathroom when they need it. Seniors are suffering the consequences of this government’s cuts and neglect – and that’s just plain wrong.”

In 2011, the government eliminated the minimum care standards for seniors care. The NDP has been pushing for new minimum standards, including through a private member’s bill introduced by Chartier, The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus