POLITICS

Saskatchewan's Opposition continues to call for new regulations in senior care

11/26/2014 06:20 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
REGINA - The daughter-in-law of a Saskatchewan woman who died after a fall in a senior care centre says she wants to hold the health-care system accountable.

Jackie Lewis, who said she has worked as a care aide in senior homes in Regina, was at the Saskatchewan legislature to talk about the case.

"I'm sick of sorry, there has to be some accountability," she said Wednesday.

A coroner's report said that while Jessie Sellwood's health was deteriorating, a fall in December 2013 most likely hastened her death.

The report said that Sellwood, who was 87, fell while she was being moved from a commode to her bed, resulting in a large skin tear and the loss of blood.

She was taken to hospital, but was transferred back to the Extendicare Sunset nursing home in Regina, where she died days later.

Lewis said she believes Sellwood's fall could have been prevented.

"I got the complete file and I found these discrepancies ... they had to own up to it but it took eight months," she said. "They didn't have enough people, she was a bigger lady, she needed more help ... she was just weaker.

A call to the care centre was not immediately returned on Wednesday.

Lewis said she believes care homes in general are understaffed.

NDP Leader Cam Broten said the case highlights problems that he said are rampant across senior care facilities.

"It's another example of a family being forced to bring their very tragic case to the legislature in order to get answers," he said.

The Opposition has been calling for minimum-care standards in senior homes.

They raised the case of 74-year-old Margaret Warholm in question period last week. She had been a resident at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home. Warholm's family believes she was neglected and a lack of care contributed to her death. On Monday, three care aides from the home, brought to the legislature by the NDP, said that residents don't receive proper care.

Broten said the common denominator across care homes is that there are staff shortages.

"What we see here is a failure to have the right information given to the family, a failure to have an individualized plan updated and a failure to have enough staff at the facility," he said.

Health Minister Dustin Duncan said the system tracks critical incidents and there are requirements in place for developing individual care plans.

"At this point I don't have a lot of details on what happened in this situation," he said, adding that the cases that have been brought forward are "concerning."

"After transportation to the hospital, why there wasn't an accurate diagnosis, I'm not sure why that's the case, I'm not sure why that happened," he said of Sellwood's case.

"We do know that we have errors that do take place in the system and we need to work hard to eliminate those errors."

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Jessie Sellwood died in hospital.