One-time fund ignores root of seniors care crisis

The government’s one-time seniors-care fund is a response that falls far short of a cure for the crisis in seniors care – a crisis caused by dramatic short-staffing and the absence of minimum standards.

“We welcome the replacement equipment and improvements health regions will get as a result of this allocation, but the root of the seniors care crisis is still being ignored by this government,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier after the government revealed the allocation of the funding Friday. “This government is putting a bandaid on a much deeper illness in seniors care.”

The NDP has been raising concern over the treatment of seniors in care for months. Families from throughout the province have come forward to say their loved ones have been left to soil themselves, are being bathed less than once per week and are not being given time or help to eat.

Families report staffing ratios as shocking as two caregivers caring for as many as 33 high-needs residents. The government changed the law to remove a “sufficient staff” requirement and eliminate a minimum standard of two-hours of direct care per resident each day.

“Minimum standards have to be set – like the number of baths, the number of nutritious meals seniors must be offered, and the minimum amount of time each resident will have direct care each day,” said Chartier. “The right number of staff is the number required to, at a very least, provide for those minimums.”

Chartier also expressed deep concern that health regions like Regina Qu’Appelle and Five Hills in Moose Jaw and area and the northern regions will not have any new front-line staff added. Many of the short-staffing concerns the NDP and Saskatchewan families have raised are from the Regina region.

The NDP has proposed minimum staffing standards for each level of care and a residents’ bill of rights for each health region with minimum standards set by the province.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus