Con­cerns raised fol­low­ing find­ings of Long Term Care Re­view

The Southwest Booster - - NEWS -

Both the op­po­si­tion NDP and SEIU-West are rais­ing con­cerns over staffing lev­els in Saskatchew­an long term care homes fol­low­ing the re­lease of a Long Term Care Re­view by the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

The re­sults of the Long Term Care Re­view were based on fa­cil­ity-by-fa­cil­ity tours by the se­nior lead­er­ship from each health re­gion, but the NDP are con­cerned that a sim­ple in­vest­ment to im­prove fa­cil­i­ties will not ad­dress low staffing lev­els and the im­pact of re­duced care avail­able as a re­sult of short handed staffs.

“Build­ing a new wheel­chair ramp or fix­ing up a bath­room are good things,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten.

“But noth­ing pre­sented by the gov­ern­ment to­day as­sures Saskatchew­an fam­i­lies that a staff per­son will be there for their grand­mas when they need help to the bath­room, get­ting out of bed or when their call but­tons ring unan­swered.”

In un­veil­ing the Long Term Care Re­view re­sults, Health Min­is­ter Dustin Dun­can high­lighted that they were able to iden­tify both pos­i­tives and neg­a­tives, but over­all there are some ar­eas that need at­ten­tion.

“Over­all it shows that we need to do bet­ter for se­niors in need of our care, es­pe­cially for the vul­ner­a­ble se­niors in our long-term care fa­cil­i­ties,” Dun­can stated in a news re­lease.

Among the pos­i­tives were the im­pact of Res­i­dent and Fam­ily Coun­cils, the ded­i­ca­tion of staff, the ben­e­fi­cial im­pact of res­i­dent-cen­tred recre­ation pro­grams, and the pos­i­tive role played by vol­un­teers.

How­ever, among the iden­ti­fied chal­lenges were is­sues in­clud­ing food (qual­ity, va­ri­ety and meal times), care is­sues (com­plex­ity, be­hav­iour man­age­ment, de­lays in pro­vi­sion of care), safety (res­i­dent needs, staff train­ing), res­i­dent mix (plac­ing young with older, frail res­i­dents), and ag­ing in­fra­struc­ture.

“We are com­mit­ted to mak­ing im­prove­ments that ad­dress th­ese is­sues and im­prove qual­ity of care and qual­ity of life for se­niors,” Dun­can said. “That is why our re­sponse to­day in­cludes des­ig­nat­ing $10 mil­lion to ad­dress ur­gent is­sues iden­ti­fied by th­ese re­ports, but also why I view this as only an ini­tial step in trans­form­ing our long-term care sys­tem.”

The $10 mil­lion will be de­liv­ered as an Ur­gent Is­sues Ac­tion Fund, ad­dress­ing pri­or­ity is­sues, in ar­eas iden­ti­fied as: pur­chas­ing re­quired equip­ment; more baths; im­proved nu­tri­tion; im­proved re­spon­sive­ness to call bells; train­ing to deal with res­i­dents with de­men­tia.

“We are tak­ing the con­cerns ex­pressed very se­ri­ously, and chal­leng­ing the health sys­tem to do bet­ter,” Dun­can said. “It is clear to me that we need a path for­ward that en­sures we are us­ing our re­sources more ef­fec­tively to im­prove qual­ity of care for our se­niors.”

Broten has been press­ing the prov­ince to pro­vide min­i­mum staffing ra­tios for dif­fer­ent lev­els of se­niors care, as well as the min­istry set­ting ba­sic re­quire­ments, like the num­ber of baths and meals all se­niors in care must be of­fered.

“It’s a shame this gov­ern­ment has been dismissive of the prob­lems that Saskatchew­an fam­i­lies raised. I’m glad there is some recog­ni­tion of se­niors’ sto- ries in the CEO re­ports – but this ap­pears more to be an ex­er­cise in the op­tics of lis­ten­ing than in ac­tu­ally hear­ing the con­cerns of fam­i­lies and ad­dress­ing them,” said Broten.

“This sum­mer, I was talk­ing to a man who told me about his fam­ily’s ex­pe­ri­ence in se­niors care. We were talk­ing about the qual­ity of care and he told me his dad asked him ‘is this re­ally how it all ends?’ That’s the heart­break­ing re­al­ity of se­niors care un­der this gov­ern­ment’s watch. They sim­ply must do bet­ter.”

In the Long Term Care Re­view re­sults pre­sented for the Cy­press Health Re­gion, listed the fol­low­ing find­ings:

WHAT IS WORK­ING WELL:

• Ex­ten­sive Eden* Train­ing com­pleted – each fa­cil­ity is choos­ing how to im­ple­ment.

• Res­i­dents/fam­i­lies state that for the most part they are grate­ful for the way their fam­ily mem­ber is treated.

• Res­i­dent coun­cils ex­ist­ing or well un­der­way in ma­jor­ity of fa­cil­i­ties. IS­SUES IDEN­TI­FIED: • Want more ac­tiv­i­ties, es­pe­cially on the weekend.

• Res­i­dents do not have in­de­pen­dent ac­cess to the out­doors.

• Res­i­dents want in­ter­net ac­cess.

• Only get one bath per week and if staff work short may miss bath that week.

• Lack of knowl­edge/ex­per­tise about geron­tol­ogy/long term care.

SEIU-West is cur­rently com­plet­ing a com­pre­hen­sive read of the re­sults, but high­light that safe staffing lev­els should be the top pri­or­ity.

“We are relieved that the voices of the many res­i­dents in long term care and their health care providers res­onated in a num­ber of the health re­gions. We see both Heart­land and Saskatoon Health Re­gions have clearly iden­ti­fied the chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with the de­liv­ery of hands-on care in safe man­ner where staffing lev­els are in­ad­e­quate. We are hope­ful that their open­ness will lend to real so­lu­tions in the form of ad­di­tional fund­ing. Presently, nu­mer­ous Health Re­gions are faced with over­whelm­ing bud­get deficits so this must be con­sid­ered” said Bar­bara Cape, Pres­i­dent of SEIU-West.

“SEIU-West mem­bers have been ded­i­cated in their ef­forts to re­port to us when they are con­stantly be­ing re- quired to work un­der un­safe staffing lev­els and we have at­tempted to share our in­for­ma­tion with the health re­gions, as well as, the Min­is­ter of Health and the Min­is­ter of Ru­ral and Re­mote Health,” con­tin­ued Cape. “It is the goal of our mem­bers to pro­vide car­ing, timely, at­ten­tion to the res­i­dents in their long term care fa­cil­i­ties. They just need an in­crease in staff hours per res­i­dent to match the com­plex­ity of care re­quire­ments.”

An SEIU-West press re­lease noted they will con­tinue to iden­tify prob­lem ar­eas for the health re­gions and the Min­is­ters in re- sponse to mem­ber­ship in­for­ma­tion re­ceived daily.

“We be­gan to take a real look at staffing lev­els when es­sen­tial ser­vice staffing lev­els were be­ing put for­ward by health re­gions that went way be­yond what our mem­bers see each work day. Our more re­cent con­cerns have been that our gov­ern­ment is plan­ning to in­tro­duce Sum­mary Of­fence Tick­et­ing (SOT’s) which in­cludes is­su­ing fines to work­ers when they fail to meet safety reg­u­la­tions; this be­comes a real prob­lem and quite un­fair in an in­dus­try where safe staffing lev­els are com­pro­mised daily,” Cape noted.

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