Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Sets Up $10-Million Fund for Urgent Issues at Long-Term Care Homes

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan Sets Up $10-Million Fund for Urgent Issues at Long-Term Care Homes

Article excerpt

$10 million for urgent issues at care homes

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REGINA - A review of long-term care in Saskatchewan is raising concerns that patients are not getting enough baths and residents are soiling themselves because there isn't enough staff to help them get to the toilet.

The findings in the 311-page document released Tuesday are based on tours of long-term care facilities by CEOs in each health region.

Comments in one review of a Saskatoon Health Region facility said: "30, 40, 50, 60, 90 minutes go by waiting to go to the bathroom, very great loss of dignity when you have to just go to the bathroom in your pad."

The same review continued: "'My husband was taught when he was a child not to pee his pants, and now they are telling him to just go in his pants.' He tries to go to the bathroom by himself (but) they tell him he is at risk of falling."

The findings are "dismaying, heartbreaking and, in some cases, details that quite frankly left me angry," said Health Minister Dustin Duncan.

"Some of the issues cited, such as a lack of privacy for residents, room size and food quality, for example, speak to an overall quality of life standard that we undoubtedly need to address," Duncan said at a news conference.

"However, it is details within the reports that reflect specific incidents that can only be characterized as unhygienic, unsafe and unacceptable that leaves me feeling disappointed and dissatisfied."

Duncan said the problems are not systemic but are widespread enough to cause significant concern.

Many of the comments from across the province are about staff being "stretched to capacity."

One health region said residents feel staff are very busy and the residents are hesitant to ask for anything unless absolutely necessary. The same region said staff feel bad when they can't provide timely care.

In most facilities, patients also said they want more recreational activities, accessible outdoor areas and better exercise. At one Saskatoon facility, the review found that residents are only getting occupational therapy or physiotherapy once a month.

Duncan sent the CEOs to visit long-term care homes after concerns were raised in the spring that residents were at risk because of understaffing. …

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