Video prompts sus­pen­sion of Santa Maria em­ploy­ees

Regina Leader-Post - - Front Page - MARK MELNYCHUK

A num­ber of em­ploy­ees have been sus­pended and a po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion launched fol­low­ing al­le­ga­tions of phys­i­cal as­sault and ne­glect of a res­i­dent at a Regina care home.

The Santa Maria Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home for­warded a video record­ing of the al­leged in­ci­dent to the Regina Po­lice Ser­vice for a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the care home said in a state­ment is­sued Fri­day evening.

Both the care home and the Regina Qu’Ap­pelle Health Re­gion have also hired an ex­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tor to ex­am­ine the is­sue of res­i­dent ne­glect.

A me­dia li­ai­son with Santa Maria said the fa­cil­ity was no­ti­fied of the al­leged abuse from a con­cern raised with the health re­gion late Thurs­day evening. By Fri­day af­ter­noon, of­fi­cials at the care home viewed the video and learned more de­tails of the com­plaint.

The em­ploy­ees in­volved were then re­moved from the care home and put on sus­pen­sion un­til fur­ther no­tice. The care home would not say ex­actly how many em­ploy­ees were sus­pended, and the ori­gin of the video has not yet been made clear.

A num­ber of al­le­ga­tions re­gard­ing abuse and ne­glect of res­i­dents at Santa Maria have been brought for­ward in the provin­cial leg­is­la­ture in re­cent weeks, in­clud­ing the case of Mar­garet Warholm, who died at the care home last year.

The state­ment from Santa Maria said Fri­day’s de­vel­op­ments stem from a new in­ci­dent and are un­re­lated to other al­le­ga­tions pre­vi­ously re­ported in the me­dia.

Health Min­is­ter Dustin Dun­can de­scribed the lat­est al­le­ga­tions as “appalling” and said the min­istry is ex­am­in­ing how it can step in and “take a more ac­tive role in the day-to-day op­er­a­tions of Santa Maria” un­til con­cerns about the fa­cil­ity are re­solved.

“I am com­pletely ap­palled at the se­ri­ous al­le­ga­tion of em­ploy­ees as­sault­ing a se­nior in their care at Santa Maria Se­nior Cit­i­zens Home. Our gov­ern­ment has zero tol­er­ance for abuse of se­niors,” Dun­can said in a state­ment.

Cam Broten, leader of the of­fi­cial op­po­si­tion, said in a state­ment the NDP is call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to es­tab­lish a se­niors ad­vo­cate of­fice, as well as min­i­mum care stan­dards to en­sure ac­count­abil­ity.

“It is im­por­tant for this gov­ern­ment to rec­og­nize that, while in­stances of phys­i­cal abuse are iso­lated, other very se­ri­ous prob­lems are wide­spread through­out our care fa­cil­i­ties. Short staffing is a sig­nif­i­cant prob­lem, and the qual­ity of care in fa­cil­i­ties through­out our prov­ince could and should be so much bet­ter,” said Broten.

The care home is­sued an im­me­di­ate apol­ogy to the af­fected res­i­dent and their fam­ily.

“To the res­i­dent in­volved, and ex­tended fam­ily mem­bers, we are deeply trou­bled by this in­ci­dent and sin­cerely apol­o­gize,” the Santa Maria state­ment said.

“Beyond ad­dress­ing the im­me­di­ate needs of the res­i­dent, we will hold those re­spon­si­ble ac­count­able for their ac­tions, and be­gin work­ing to re­gain your trust.”

In light of the al­le­ga­tions, Santa Maria said it plans to con­duct an em­ployee train­ing re­view. It is also par­tic­i­pat­ing in a re­view of op­er­a­tions and care pro­ce­dures led by Om­buds­man Saskatchew­an.

Dustin Dun­can

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