Seniors’ critic urges provincial government to eliminate for-profit care in Sask.

NDP Seniors’ Critic Matt Love has been challenging the government on their handling of long-term care in the province.

During Monday’s question period, Love questioned why the government did not do what was required to help seniors in long-term care during the COVID-19 pandemic. He noted in particular the COVID-19 outbreak at Extendicare Parkside in the winter saying the government ignored warning signs from previous reports, which resulted in unfortunate deaths at the facility among others.

“They highlight things that became deadly. They highlight things like four beds to a room, one to 30 staff ratio overnight, and they specifically point out that there are significant risks for infection control in these types of environments,” said Love. “All of these warning signs were ignored and the government did not act on these signs.”

He believes the outcomes from residents have been best in homes that have been owned and operated by the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

“In Extendicare homes, there is one death for every 14 beds. However in homes and operated by the health authority, there was one death for every 193 beds,” Love discussed. “That stark difference gives the government every reason they need to eliminate for-profit care in Saskatchewan.”

Minister of Seniors’ Everett Hindley said the government is fully cooperating with the Provincial Ombudsman’s investigation into what happened at Parkside during its COVID-19 outbreak. He added that they take this situation seriously.

“It’s why we have the Ombudsman investigating into that situation in order to take a look at what happened in that situation,” Hindley explained. “At this point in time, we just don’t know what the factors were and we don’t want to speculate into what the Ombudsman might find.”

He added that the government has followed and implemented recommendations from CEO and Ombudsman reports in the past.

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