Government must release seniors care update due yesterday

A 60-day update on the government’s drop-in-the-bucket response to the seniors care crisis was due yesterday, and the NDP wants it released publicly.

“This government scrapped minimum standards in seniors care homes, and the treatment of seniors in care homes since then has been nothing short of a crisis,” said Danielle Chartier, NDP health critic. “Instead of reinstating and strengthening minimum standards and setting the minimum staffing levels seniors need to be cared for with dignity, this government funded only a few pieces of equipment and repairs.

“The government was scheduled to receive its first update yesterday on whether the few pieces of replacement equipment have made any strides in solving the seniors care crisis, or if it’s just a stall tactic and a drop-in-the-bucket that won’t stem the tide of shocking and sad stories coming out of seniors care homes.”

In December, the government paid out a one-time, $10 million issues fund in response to the crisis. At the time, Health Minister Dustin Duncan said he would receive updates in 60, 90 and 120 days on any difference the purchases had made for understaffed facilities in crisis.

Chartier said the NDP continues to hear from seniors and their families who describe poor care and conditions in seniors homes. Over the past year, both the NDP and a health region CEO tour report identified the result of the lack of staff and minimum standards with seniors being forced to soil themselves when no one is available to help them to the bathroom, not being given even a weekly bath, missing meals and a host of other concerns that impact residents’ health and dignity.

While the NDP welcomes any investment into seniors care, Chartier said this one fell short and failed to address the root cause of the crisis – minimum standards and a lack of staff.

The NDP has proposed a residents’ bill of rights for seniors, making minimum standards – including minimum staffing ratios for various care levels – the law in Saskatchewan.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus