The deal will cost the province $13.1 million for Extendicare properties in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Regina.
The original announcement was made in October 2021, explaining the SHA, with the support of the Saskatchewan government, was going to assume all responsibility for the delivery of long-term care services at the homes and work with Extendicare on the transition of services to the SHA.
This was following the deadliest COVID-19 outbreaks in the province. Thirty-nine residents died from COVID-19, and 194 of the 198 residents were infected.
A report also criticized the facility for overcrowding and inadequate supply of protective equipment for staff.
Saskatchewan Health Minister Paul Merriman explains the SHA’s involvement during the crisis.
“The SHA did step in and co-manage for a while and that was a temporary solution to get to the full solution that was the SHA and government will now take ownership of those facilities,” he said in a release to Global News.
The SHA has stated that they are “committed to ensuring ongoing high-quality, safe resident care and services for all residents at the five homes, as well as an environment where loved ones feel welcomed and part of the care team. Our goal was to make this transition as seamless as possible for all residents, family and staff.”
Barbara Cape, president of Service Employees International Union West, explains the transition period that Extendicare staff are currently experiencing.
“The transition happened behind some very tightly closed doors.” Cape confirmed that many staff members have outstanding questions that make it harder to focus on their work. These questions have been communicated to the SHA.
When asked if the transition to SHA employment was smooth, Cape could not provide a definitive answer.
“The reason why I am not sure is because the absolute lack of real information to the staff or to the unions who work in the facilities. It has been alarming.”
Cape explains that Extendicare’s staffing has not always been able to keep up and something they would like to see from the SHA is more robust staffing initiatives.
“The relationship between a caregiver in long-term care and a resident is really one of family as well. Residents and their family want to make sure that there is no stress, no anxiety, no outstanding questions and they can just focus on putting their professionalism to the test every single day.”
When asked about future plans for change and improvement, the SHA responded, “Residents and families should see no change to the delivery of their care. In most cases, the staff providing that care will not change, meaning residents and families will not see a change in that relationship.
“We are committed to ensuring ongoing high-quality, safe resident care and services for all residents at the five homes, as well as an environment where loved ones feel welcomed and part of the care team. Our goal was to make this transition as seamless as possible for all residents, families and staff.”