Love: Seniors deserve more than ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’ care

SASKATOON - This week Everett Hindley, Minister for Seniors, told the media his government had implemented recommendations from the Ombudsman’s report into the deplorable care at Santa Maria in Regina. That’s flat out wrong. Not only has the government not operationalized the vague and unenforceable Program Guidelines for Special Care Homes, they still do not publicly report how they are being met on a facility-by-facility basis.

“Premier Moe and his government’s policy on seniors’ care in this province has been ‘out-of-sight, out-of-mind’,” said Matt Love, Official Opposition Critic for Seniors. “These are our parents, our siblings, our loved ones who have been outright forgotten and ignored by this government. Their treatment is nothing short of inhumane.” 

Saskatchewan is one of the only provinces in Canada that does not conduct unannounced LTC inspections, and the province has no provincial care standards in place to protect residents. By comparison, Newfoundland and Labrador conducted 1,400 visits of their long-term care facilities over a six-month period. They had zero LTC deaths due to COVID-19.

“This problem didn’t start this year, the Sask. Party government has been ignoring reports about this issue for over a decade. Unfortunately, the consequences of those decisions were made fatal by this pandemic,” said Love. “Despite the best efforts of hard-working front-line health care staff, the system is broken. They’ve chosen to ignore the calls for better, humane care for our seniors. They own this.”

The Saskatchewan NDP has been calling for years for changes to our seniors’ care and for the implementation of recommendations provided by reports submitted by both the Provincial Auditor and Provincial Ombudsman. Some examples include: 

“It is shockingly clear how little this government prioritizes seniors and their care, as showcased by their recent announcement of funding from the COVID contingency fund which had $0 earmarked for seniors or long-term care improvements,” said Love. “This despite just grappling with Saskatchewan’s deadliest outbreak just months before.”

Love and the Official Opposition are calling on Premier Moe and his government to immediately:

  • Implement all outstanding recommendation from independent officers, including inspections of all LTC homes and publicly report conditions in each home
  • Agree to the full implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations from her upcoming report within the year
  • Step up and finally provide the necessary funding to the sector to protect those most at risk in the pandemic
  • Introduce legislation to reinstate minimum standards of care
  • Act now to eliminate for-profit care in Saskatchewan