Report Card: Long-Term Care
Their track record:
- Expanded private personal care homes while allowing public long-term facilities to crumble
- Repealed regulations requiring at least two hours of personal care for residents of special care homes
- Reduced the number of continuing care assistants and other staff working in long-term care facilities since 2016
The proportion of Saskatchewan residents over 65 years old is growing rapidly, but the number of long-term care beds is dropping. Our seniors and long-term care residents deserve a care system that puts their health, security and dignity ahead of the interests of for-profit operators.
The Sask. Party track record:
- The number of beds in private personal care homes, most of which are for-profit, rises significantly from 2,655 in 2004 to 4,399 in 2018. The Sask. Party government encourages this growth through the introduction of a Personal Care Home Benefit in 2012. Residents face monthly fees of up to $6,000 per month for lower levels of care than that provided in public special care homes.
- The physical infrastructure of many public special care homes is left to deteriorate to the point that some facilities are no longer repairable. In 2018 the Grenfell and District Pioneer Home and an entire wing of Regina’s Pioneer Village (RPV) are closed due to disrepair. Several RPV residents are moved temporarily to two new private personal care homes. The Sask. Party government does not rule out private, for-profit delivery to replace the Grenfell and RPV homes.
- In 2010 the Sask. Party government partners with Amicus Health Care, a large for-profit chain, to build a 100-bed special care home in Saskatoon. The project, similar to a public-private partnership or P3, costs $11 million to $20 million more than if the province had built the facility, according to economist John Loxley. In 2013 the province announces a 225-bed special care home P3 to replace three aging homes in Swift Current.
- In 2011 the Saskatchewan Party government repeals regulations requiring that public special care home residents receive at least two hours of personal or nursing care per day, with a required ratio of one registered nurse or registered psychiatric nurse to seven ancillary nursing staff.
- Despite increased reports of excessive workloads, staff burnout and time pressures, Ministry of Health figures show that the number of continuing care assistants (CCAs) working in Saskatchewan’s long-term facilities declines from 2016 to 2019.
- The 2019 Saskatchewan Health Authority CEO Tour of Long-Term Care Facilities identifies numerous concerns of residents including: staffing levels and retention, delayed responses to call bells, inability to access more than a weekly bath, limited and bland menu options and lack of recreational activities.
What Saskatchewan needs:
- A significant increase in the number of public long-term care beds and repair of neglected infrastructure.
- Implementation of regulations requiring a minimum of 4.1 hours of hands-on care per resident every day.
- Increased staffing in public long-term care homes to decrease staff workloads and improve the quality of care.
- Maximization of full-time employment so that long-term care workers do not have to work second or third jobs putting residents and other staff at more risk during a pandemic.
- A provincial government that will push the federal government to bring long-term care under the Canada Health Act, making it a publicly funded and delivered health care service accessible to everyone.