As a daily visitor to see her brother at the Foothills Hospital, Julie Denhamer said she’s appalled at the condition of the Special Services building.
When she was in the cafeteria she saw not one rodent, but four.
“It’s absolutely disgusting — you see the mice go from one side of the floor to the other and some of them would drop droppings and scurry along the other side of the counter,” Denhamer said.
She captured photos where you can see the vermin.
“I know restaurants and grocery stores would be held to a different standard and likely shut down with warnings and repercussions from AHS,” Denhamer said. “It’s a double standard.”
“I wonder if this is what’s going on in public spaces how clean is it in spaces that aren’t open to the public?”
Denhamer said she alerted a supervisor who said an exterminator was on the case but did little else.
Alberta Health Services issued a statement on the mice and said they are working with a third party professional pest control operator to conduct routine inspections of any pest activity at site.
“AHS’ Environmental Public Health does not have a complaint on file related to mice at FMC on Jan. 13, 2023. However, the pest control contractor is following up and any necessary remediation will be taken.”
Deteriorating conditions of the facility are also a concern for Ashley Wells. She took her son to Foothills in mid-December.
She said he was struggling with self-harm and they were admitted to Unit E. She said couldn’t believe the condition of the ward.
“When they brought us back I looked at the nurse and said: ‘You’ve got the be kidding me?'”
“We are in a white, plain, dilapidated, disgusting room. You walk in and there’s stains behind doors and marks all over walls and window — it was grimy,” Wells said.
“It was an unwelcoming undignified place to house someone who is already struggling seeing the beauty in this world,” Wells said.
She said she reported it to the patient advocacy liaison who asked for pictures but she hasn’t received a follow-up.
“It angered me. It was cold and sterile and shows the level of disregard for people who have mental health issues,” Wells said.
AHS didn’t address those specific concerns in their statement to Global News.
Last January AHS said they were contracting out some work at hospitals, such as moving laundry services away from AHS and to K-Bro Linen Systems. That began in Sept. 2022. Health-care workers protested the planned cuts or privatization in Oct. 2020.
“This is a serious health and safety concern for patients, staff, and hospital visitors,” said AUPE Vice-President Bobby-Joe Borodey. “Albertans can expect more of this if the UCP government continues to underfund the health care system and pushes AHS forward with its plan to privatize hospital cleaning services.”