By Letter to the Editor on May 1, 2020.
What can you do now to help save the lives of seniors in care homes?
Many Alberta senior care homes are private, for profit. Most don’t employ enough in-house staff to meet their residents’ needs. Many home-care workers, paid separately by Alberta Health Services, attend other seniors residents in one day. All care workers should be employed by one facility only, or seniors homes should be made public.
One Lethbridge seniors care facility reported it is providing adequate services and protection to their residents but they also admitted they don’t have enough Personal Protective Equipment or testing equipment to supply and test residents, let alone their own staff. As of this writing, the facility had performed no health checks on a large number of its residents. Current reports by residents indicate they are still having meals together and that they have not been supplied with necessary sanitizers nor personal protective equipment. They have not been instructed on how to get these items and how to use them.
Quebec advised families to take their elders home. If it’s not possible to bring your elder home, then provide them with the equipment for their protection. Don’t assume that the facility is providing any protective items, testing or training. Insist on testing staff and residents. Drop off the following items:
Hand sanitizer, wipes, gloves and masks; large-print instruction sheet; instructions on social distancing; ask a friend in the facility to check on your elder daily. The facility may not be checking on them daily or even weekly; and ask your elder directly what services they are or are not receiving. Their answer may differ from what the facility manager tells you.
Collectively, we have a better chance of being heard by our governments and health-care services about the problems seniors are facing. Following is a list or resources to report any concerns or infractions:
1. Patient Feedback, Alberta: provincially funded group under Alberta Health Services, for patients and families to report problems in health-care systems. 1-855-550-2555. Website: AHS.ca to a green link to Patient Feedback;
2. Elder Advocates of Alberta, Edmonton – Ms. Ruth Adria, 1-780-438-8314; email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
3. Facility headquarters: report to home managers.
4. Parliamentarians, media sources: report concerns those with influence in the funding, running and monitoring of seniors care homes..