NDP Leader Ryan Meili called on the government to clarify rules for social distancing at seniors’ residences, for government support to allow seniors to stay in touch with their families and for the government to put a stop to a plan for families to provide care in place of home care staff in at least one facility in Prince Albert.
“Seniors are among the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and we need to do everything we can to protect them from the spread, while ensuring they are able to stay in touch with family outside seniors residences,” said Meili. “We are hearing from too many people saying that rules are unclear and that staffing levels don’t allow facilities to comply with the rules. This is a time to be investing in both staff and tec
Meili specifically called for:
- Clear rules around physical distancing in seniors’ facilities to protect residents and staff, and clarity around the need for staff to use masks and other protective equipment
- An injection of additional resources to allow facilities to hire staff to implement physical distancing and to provide support for residents facing social isolation.
- Resources for seniors to reach families members, including tablets to allow video-calling, as Nova Scotia has done.
Meili was joined by Wendy Fyrk, whose father lives at a facility in Prince Albert. Fyrk has been told her father will be losing access to homecare.
“Families are being asked to either come in and provide the support our parents and grandparents need, or to bring their family member home, as our homecare supports are to be moved to acute care,” said Fyrk. “In a 110-person facility with an average age of 85, having family members provide care increases the risk of spreading COVID-19 in my father’s home, putting all of these seniors at risk.”