NDP renews legislative call for minimum standards in seniors care

Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act reintroduced

The NDP is continuing its call for the government to address the seniors care crisis in Saskatchewan, including with the reintroduction this week of a bill that will require the government to establish minimum quality of care standards for seniors care homes throughout the province.

“This week, I joined with Margaret Warholm’s family to raise Margaret’s story in the Legislature,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “Margaret’s story is one of shocking neglect at a Regina care home. She wasn’t fed. She was left in a bed constantly without being given help to move. She wasn’t given proper medical attention. By the time Margaret was finally sent to a hospital, she was malnourished and emaciated. She had spinal fractures that were untreated. She had a bedsore covering her entire back and her skin has torn open, leaving her in awful pain. Margaret’s story is horrific and one of the worst I’ve heard – but it’s far from the only one.

“I keep hearing heart-breaking stories of people being neglected in care homes. Their dignity and even their health is being sacrificed in seniors care facilities that have absolutely no minimum care standards, and are often badly understaffed. It’s unacceptable, and it has to stop.”

The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act was first introduced last spring by NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier, but voted down by the government. Chartier has now re-introduced the bill.

Under the law, minimum quality of care standards would be created. Each care home would be required to have a Residents in Care Bill of Rights, created in consultation with residents and their families. Each Bill of Rights must guarantee the right of residents to have individualized care plans, which are based on input from the resident and their family members, and which meet or exceed the new minimum care standards.

Saskatchewan used to have minimum quality of care standards, which included a requirement for adequate staffing and a minimum number of staff hours for each resident, each day. The premier and his cabinet scrapped those standards entirely in 2011.

“Every senior living in a care home deserves, at a minimum, to be offered regular meals, regular baths and a minimum amount of one-on-one care. They deserve to have a caregiver help them to and from the bathroom when they need. They deserve to know that when they ring a call bell for help, help is coming,” said Broten. “That’s not happening in many care homes in Saskatchewan today, and our parents and grandparents deserve so much better.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus