Following calls from the Opposition, the government released the 251-page document, which is intended to highlight what’s working well and what necessary improvements need to be made.
One of the issues that stands out is residents not receiving care in a timely manner.
In Saskatoon, a resident at the Saskatoon Convalescent Home said at times they wait too long for attention when asking for assistance, especially during shift change and meal times.
Another concern was raised by the companion of a resident at Samaritan Place, also in Saskatoon, who said that her husband sometimes waits up to an hour for care.
Elsewhere, at the Jubilee Home in Lloydminster, the report states that residents can wait upwards of 30 minutes for staff to respond to calls for help.
Some of the complaints point to staff shortages as the root cause, which Linda Anderson with the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, said is not surprising.
“I know that what I read in the report certainly coincided with what I do know having relatives, friends, different organizations talking about what goes on,” Anderson said.
“We know one of the major difficulties in long-term care homes is sufficient staff to meet the needs of residents…and that’s come out plainly.”
Other seemingly alarming issues raised in the report include the prescription of antipsychotics to residents at Regina Pioneer Village, who didn’t have a psychosis diagnosis.
Additional complaints include limited or no access to Wi-Fi or the phone, not enough ceiling tracks or ceiling lifts for residents and bathing related issues.
In Kamsack, the report shows that bowel and bathroom routines are not being implemented. Other bathing issues were also raised across the province from places including the Hudson Bay Health Care Facility, St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Ile-a-la-Crosse and the Cudworth Nursing Home and Community Centre.
According to the report, bathtubs at Regina’s Lutheran Home are at the end of their life span and residents are only bathed once a week.
At Saskatoon’s Porteous Lodge, there is one shared washroom for 16 residents on each floor. Even though there are more bathrooms in the building, the doors aren’t wide enough for wheelchairs and therefore can’t be used by residents.
Food is also a major concern, with the majority of long-term care residents complaining about the quality and lack of options, especially for those with diabetes.
One resident in Weyburn complained there isn’t enough food to eat, while those at Lakeside Manor Care Home in Saltcoats, also complained about small portions.
“Those are your basic needs when you go into a home and where, what’s really highlighted in the report… is that it’s difficult to really provide in some homes, in particular, the quality of care that they need,” Anderson said.
The report also paints a bleak picture of aging and deteriorating facilities.
Saskatchewan’s NDP party is calling on the government for more transparency and to implement legislative minimum care standards, including proper funding.
“The people that are working there are working hard, they’re doing everything they can but they’ve got nowhere near the human resources to meet the needs and they’re working in facilities that are constantly serious infrastructure concerns,” said Opposition Leader Ryan Meili.
Extendicare in Moose Jaw, for example, is facing issues like asbestos and mould, with other facilities, including the Lumsden Heritage Home, dealing with leaky roofs.
Extendicare Parkside in Regina is also in need of replacement due to pending infrastructure and large system failures. The report states that its current design does not meet current standards of care.
“This report confirms everything that we already know about long-term care,” said Danielle Chartier, NDP seniors’ critic.
“We need adequate funding so facilities can, in fact, put in place those minimum standards so the people who built this province actually have the dignity and the care that they need in the end, in the last years of their lives.”
The province responded to the report and said it did not find systematic flaws in long-term care facilities and that there are guidelines in place to ensure minimum care standards.
It said SHA will review the findings and address the issues. As the population ages, and needs changes, the province said it will have to expand and adapt care.
There is no date attached to any upcoming plans.
This isn’t the first time the condition of the province’s long-term care facilities has been brought into question.
A report in 2014 showed that out of Saskatchewan’s more than 130 long-term care facilities, more than 100 were classified as in poor or critical condition.
-With files from Mickey Djuric