NDP wants action on seniors care while investigation pending

Broten supports ombudsman investigation; calls for awareness campaign

NDP Leader Cam Broten supports the provincial ombudsman’s ongoing investigation into problems at seniors care facilities throughout Saskatchewan, but says this government must not wait to take meaningful action to start fixing the seniors care crisis.

“Enough with the excuses and delays,” said Broten. “For almost two years, we’ve heard story after story about serious neglect caused by short-staffing and a lack of accountability. We've heard about a substandard quality of care for far too many seniors. We've even heard about premature deaths. I don't know how Mr. Wall can listen to these stories and keep refusing to act.”

Broten proposes immediate action that starts with creating regulated minimum care standards, including requiring the appropriate hands-on staff on each shift to properly care for residents. Minimum care standards were eliminated by this government in 2011, and would be reestablished through a private member’s bill the NDP introduced in the fall legislative session.

Broten is also calling on the government to initiate an awareness campaign about the ombudsman’s investigation, inviting residents, their families and staff in seniors care homes to contact the ombudsman if they have concerns or personal experiences to share.

“I appreciate that the independent ombudsman recognized the need for a broader investigation into the seniors care crisis in our province,” said Broten. “The problems we now have in seniors care run deep, and too many families don’t know where to turn, or are not comfortable speaking out. They need to know that this independent investigation is taking place, and that the ombudsman is independent and confidential.”

On Tuesday, Ombudsman Mary McFadyen released a letter confirming that Ombudsman Saskatchewan’s investigation into the issues impacting seniors care is well underway. In her letter, McFadyen noted that complaints regarding seniors care have been coming in to her office “from all over the province,” and that the issues being raised “are about poor quality of care, low staff-to-resident ratios, a poor organizational culture within facilities, lack of communications with families and residents, and a long-term care system lacking in accountability.”

She notes that some of the complaints require her immediate attention, and while others will be dealt with in her report, expected to be released this spring. 

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus