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Recommendations on seniors care to apply to whole province: ombudsman

04/16/2015 03:55 EDT | Updated 07/01/2015 03:59 EDT
REGINA - Saskatchewan's ombudsman says she has received 79 complaints about various nursing homes and her recommendations on seniors care will apply to the entire province.

Mary McFadyen's comments followed the release of her annual report on Thursday.

She said her office is almost done an investigation into long-term care that was prompted by the death of a 74-year-old woman whose family alleges she 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 spine. She also had a large bedsore on her back that her family believes could have been prevented.

McFadyen said her investigation looked at whether standards of care were followed in Warholm's case.

"We're looking in general at the roles and responsibilities and accountability in the long-term care system," she said. "We're looking at what processes are in place when you as a family member have a complaint to bring forward."

McFadyen said earlier this year that complaints have included poor quality of care, low staff-to-resident ratios, lack of accountability and poor communication.

"They were from all over Saskatchewan, all types of facilities, all health regions."

Opposition Leader Cam Broten has been calling for changes to long-term care for months and has cited staff-to-resident ratios as one of the major problems.

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

Health Minister Dustin Duncan has said understaffing isn't a systemic issue at homes across the province.

McFadyen said she couldn't comment on staff numbers until completing her investigation.

The Opposition has also been calling for minimum-care standards as well as for the creation of a seniors advocate.

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