Saskatchewan stays in control of Extendicare homes

Seniors Minister Everett Hindley is shown at Government House in Regina on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. The Saskatchewan Health Authority will continue to oversee all five Extendicare long-term care homes in the province for at least another month. Michael Bell / The Canadian Press

The Saskatchewan Health Authority says it will continue to oversee five homes operated by a private long-term care provider for at least another month.

The health authority was appointed administrator of Extendicare facilities on Aug. 5 after the province’s ombudsman released a report highlighting mismanagement that led to Saskatchewan’s deadliest COVID-19 outbreak at one of the homes.

In total, 194 of 198 residents at Parkside Extendicare in Regina contracted COVID-19 last winter, and 42 of them died — 39 from the virus and three from other causes. Some 132 employees were also infected.

The health authority has spent the last month overseeing the homes and reviewing their operations. A report on those findings has been sent for review to the Ministry of Health.

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The ministry says the report will be used to evaluate the health authority’s agreement with Extendicare as a long-term care provider in the province.

Seniors Minister Everett Hindley has said the government is looking at all its options, including cancelling its contract with Extendicare.

“We understand the ministry is reviewing the report and, in the meantime, the SHA has been directed to continue as administrator of the five Extendicare homes in Saskatchewan until Oct. 4,” said Lisa Thomson, a spokeswoman for the health authority.

“SHA is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all long-term care residents and staff members in these five homes.”

Extendicare said in a statement that it has been co-operating with the government as the operator’s practices and services are reviewed.

“With the fourth wave upon us, and rates of infection rising in communities across the country, we are doing everything we can to remain vigilant and protect those who live and work in our homes,” Extendicare said.

That includes requiring all staff in Saskatchewan to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, it said.


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