Sask gov’t, NDP and Extendicare react to ombudsman report on COVID-19 outbreak at Parkside nursing home

The province’s seniors minister says the ombudsman’s report on a COVID-19 outbreak at Regina’s Parkside Extendicare nursing home is troubling.

Everett Hindley says he is apologizing on behalf of the government and the Saskatchewan Health Authority and says all recommendations made will be implemented.

“We need to do better.  The findings and recommendations in this report provide a clear path to do better.” Hindley said.

Hindley says the SHA has been appointed administrator over all five Extendicare long term care facilities in Saskatchewan for a period of 30 days. At the end of 30 days, the SHA will submit a report to the Ministry of Health regarding compliance with the ombudsman’s recommendations and the care requirements as stipulated under the Program Guidelines for Special Care Homes.

That report will be used to evaluate the SHA’s agreement with Extendicare as a long-term care service provider in the province.

The NDP says there is no doubt that the agreement the province has with Extendicare should be scrapped.  Seniors Critic Matt Love says both the government, in particular Premier Scott Moe, former health minister Jim Reiter and current health minister Paul Merriman,  along with Extendicare share the blame for the outbreak that took 39 lives and infected just about all residents of the south Regina home as well as a majority of staff.

He adds Mary McFadyen’s recommendation that the government “make meaningful and lasting systemic and structural improvements to Saskatchewan’s long-term care system” should mean an end to for-profit care in Saskatchewan.

In a statement from Extendicare, the company says “Throughout the pandemic, our primary focus has been on the safety and wellbeing of those in our care. This focus has not wavered, and remains our priority today.  We are deeply sorry for what happened during the COVID-19 outbreak at Parkside and the many challenges it brought. We remain very grateful to the SHA for their support throughout this difficult time and will work cooperatively with them to deliver the high-quality care that seniors need and deserve.Seniors living in long-term care in Saskatchewan and across the country deserve a system that is modernized to meet their needs today, and into the future. We remain committed to working collaboratively with our partners to put the needs of residents first.”

More from Play92