The government’s one-time seniors-care fund is a response that falls far short of a cure for the crisis in seniors' care – a crisis caused by dramatic short-staffing and the absence of minimum standards.
Last week, the government revealed that in response to a seniors care crisis, it will allocate funding to fulfill health regions’ requests for items like a new lift or staff training.
I welcome the replacement equipment and improvements health regions will get as a result of this allocation, but the root of the seniors care crisis is still being ignored by this government. Essentially, this government is simply putting a Band-Aid on a much deeper illness in seniors' care.
The NDP has been raising concern over the treatment of seniors in care for months. Families from throughout the province have come forward to say their loved ones have been left to soil themselves, are being bathed less than once per week and are not being given time or help to eat.
Families report staffing ratios as shocking, with two caregivers caring for as many as 33 high-needs residents. The government changed the law to remove a sufficient staff requirement, and eliminate a minimum standard of two hours of direct care per resident each day.
It’s critical that minimum standards are set – like the number of baths, the number of nutritious meals seniors must be offered, and the minimum amount of time each resident will have for direct care each day. The right number of staff is the number required to, at a very least, provide for those minimums.
The NDP has proposed minimum staffing standards for each level of care, and a residents’ bill of rights for each health region, with minimum standards set by the province.
Sadly, this government continues to stubbornly ignore the heart of the issues that are causing the seniors care crisis in Saskatchewan. As a result, seniors' care is getting worse in Saskatchewan, and that has to stop.
NDP health critic