Around half of the beds at Regina’s Pioneer Village special care home have now been closed as mould continues to plague the aging facility.
Residents are being forced to move to accommodate the closures, but the union representing the facility’s health care workers says staff members are suffering too.
“They’re sick,” said CUPE 5430 Region 4 general vice-president Rebecca Reynard. “They are filing reports about the illnesses they’re suffering from.”
Reynard said union members have been dealing with head and stomach aches while working at the facility.
“They say they’re here for four days, they go home sick, get a few days off and start to feel better and then they’re coming back into the building and getting sick again,” she said.
Remediation efforts to remove the mould and reopen beds are underway at the facility, which has made headlines for closing beds twice since a 2014 report first identified a need for repairs.
“While that work’s being done we’ve put out a request for proposal (RFP) for 100 beds to help relieve that congestion. We hope to award that very soon,” Health Minister Jim Reiter said when asked about the facility in Question Period Tuesday.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority put out three RFPs earlier this year in response to bed closures at Pioneer Village and the complete closure of Grenfell Pioneer Home.
“They’re asking for proposals where we could look at affiliates or private sector or CBOs (community based organizations),” said Reiter, “that might be interested in providing those services as we decide what we can do long-term. While that review work is being done it’s going to be compared to a traditional build within the system.”
Reynard thinks remediation and RFPs don’t go far enough.
“Even though they shut down one part of it doesn’t mean it’s not in the air,” she said. “I believe that the government needs to take a more proactive approach than trying to deal with these fires once they happen. They’ve known about this building for over ten years already now and haven’t done much about it.”
She says a long term solution needs to come sooner rather than later.
“It’s not getting better,” said Reynard. “These residents need a place to live, so where would they go, if this problem doesn’t get fixed?”