Worsening conditions regarding daily physical restraints, use of antipsychotics, and newly occurring pressure ulcers were found in special care homes in the Saskatoon area and Saskatchewan’s provincial auditor is calling for better oversight.
A report highlighted that many of the performance measure results reviewed by the auditor have not changed since 2017, adding that a lack of holding special care homes accountable for their non-compliance is creating a negative impact to residents’ quality of life.
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It said that two care homes were meeting the target for antipsychotics being used without a diagnosis of psychosis while 13 were not meeting the Saskatchewan Health Authority’s requirements.
The provincial authority noted that this is an indicator that special care home staff are chemically managing their residents.
The report said 10 care homes met the requirements when it came to using physical restraints, but five were still not meeting those targets.
Six care homes met targets regarding newly occurring pressure ulcers, while nine did not, and the same numbers were reported for residents experiencing pain.
It was noted in the report that the Saskatchewan Health Authority needs to clarify accountability relationships between itself, the Ministry of Health and special care home representatives. Service expectations also need to be defined and private operators of special care homes need to improve performance measures.
Bill VanGorder, chief education and policy officer with the Canadian Association of Retired Persons (CARP), said they advocate for retired people in the areas of health, security and living comfortably and successfully in their later years.
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He said it was important that the province ensure that the regulations around special care homes were enforced.
VanGorder noted that issues within the health-care system could be causing some of these issues as well, pointing to a lack of staff and COVID-19 still lingering.
“There’s a lot more that needs to be fixed,” VanGorder said.
He said the provincial government needs to make sure these care homes have the resources they need to meet regulations.
Shan Landry, vice chair for the Saskatchewan Seniors Mechanism, said it was great that there were standards in place, but said resources need to be in place to allow these care homes to meet these standards.
She also pointed out that ageism is still an issue in society, and often the quality of life for older adults is less of a priority.
“We tend to write off older adults through stereotypes and through age-old kinds of assumptions about what old age means,” Landry said.
She said raising awareness about these issues is important, saying that if the people start to demand and expect change governments might start to pay attention.