POLITICS

NDP continues to call for changes in seniors care and minimum care standards

03/24/2015 04:21 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
SASKATOON - A Saskatchewan woman says she is calling for improvements to long-term care homes in honour of her mother, who died days after falling out of a chair.

Judy Hofer said her 98-year-old mother, Lois Rein, was in a reclining chair and a health worker left her in a "precarious position" earlier this month.

She added that her mother died Friday, eight days after she fell and broke her leg just above the knee at the Circle Drive Special Care Home in Saskatoon.

"The care over the years has been problematic, not just for my mother," Hofer said. "How many incidents do you have to have before you say there's a pattern here?"

It's the latest case brought forward by Opposition NDP Leader Cam Broten in Tuesday's question period, who has been calling for changes to long-term care for months.

He said the Saskatchewan Party government continues to dismiss cases as isolated incidents.

"Let's look at the evidence," he said. "Day after day we're hearing from families about how there aren't enough staff, how minimum care standards aren't in place and that's having a negative impact on seniors."

Health Minister Dustin Duncan said the health region is investigating Rein's case.

"From my understanding this is a good facility," he said, adding that there had been an increase in the number of staff at the home. "Staffing levels in long-term care have never been higher than they are today."

In November, the ombudsman began an investigation after the death of a 74-year-old woman whose family alleges was neglected.

Margaret Warholm lived at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home in Regina until October 2013. Medical records show Warholm lost almost 14 kilograms in a year and had compression fractures in her vertebrae. She also had a large bedsore on her back that her family believes could have been prevented.

Saskatchewan's ombudsman said in January that her office had received about 35 complaints related to long-term care facilities since the investigation launched.

Mary McFadyen has said the complaints include poor quality of care, low staff-to-resident ratios, a lack of accountability and poor communication.

Hofer said she's frustrated and wants to see better care for residents. She is planning her mother's funeral for Thursday afternoon.

"(My mother) was a very caring woman," she said, adding that her mother would be proud her family is advocating on behalf of other residents.

"We took that leap for the sake of her and now for the sake of other people ... as they end their lives in a nursing home."

— By Clare Clancy in Regina