REGINA – Elderly residents at a Saskatchewan long-term care home describe neighbours with dementia wandering the facility unsupervised and attacking others.
In videos produced by the Saskatchewan NDP to document short-staffing in seniors care, two men who live at Ross Payant Centennial Home in Assiniboia suggest there aren’t enough workers to prevent repeated run-ins with aggressive residents.
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“One day, a (resident) came in when I was watching TV and banged me in the back,” said Jim Lawrence, 85. “I was washing my hands one day … she came in and rammed me in the back again.”
“I didn’t come here to be abused and pushed around.”
Don Reid, 71, says staffing shortages are felt particularly at night. “It’s hard to get help if you need it.”
Lawrence says cuts began this past May, but closure of a specialized dementia unit in early October is “when the bedlam really started.”
“I didn’t come here to be abused and pushed around,” Lawrence said. “We need to get our staff back.”
A Five Hills Health Region CEO report from May 2014 indicates that employees were concerned about staffing levels at Ross Payant, but an action plan notes the facility had “the highest staffing level in the region.”
SEE BELOW: May 2014 CEO tour report from Ross Payant Centennial Home (highlighting by NDP)
One year later, a letter written by a Five Hills executive says the health region was “making modest changes” to staff levels in order to bring it into line with other facilities.
On Wednesday, Opposition leader Cam Broten touted the NDP’s Residents in Care Bill of Rights, which he says would ensure seniors homes have minimum care standards and staffing ratios.
“Is this really where we’re at in this province?” Broten asked. “(An 85-year-old man) is begging to live in peace and safely.”
During question period, Health Minister Dustin Duncan argued the budget at Ross Payant has increased 30 per cent over the last eight years and said recreation has been extended from five to seven days per week.
QP: @PremierBradWall says “there were no such cuts” and have increased beds across SK. #skpoli
— Mike McKinnon (@mikemckinnon) October 21, 2015
“The average resident care hours per day are still higher than any other facility in this health region,” Duncan said.
A government spokesperson released numbers showing no change in the number of care aides and total staff levels at Ross Payant.
The health minister noted there’s no longer separation between residents with dementia and the rest of the population, due in part to demands of family members complaining their loved ones didn’t have access to the amenities others had.
“For those residents that have been used to having residents with dementia locked in the (different) wing … this is going to be a change.”