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Wednesday, 16 October 2013 16:04

Long-term care for Sask. seniors a priority

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I wish to update your readers about action our government is taking to improve quality of care in long-term care facilities across Saskatchewan.

On October 1, I released feedback received from health region CEOs on the conditions in long-term care facilities. The findings are based on facility-by-facility tours by the senior leadership in each health region – visits that I directed happen this past spring.
CEOs found many things that were working effectively. We are fortunate to have many dedicated staff and good programs for residents. However, there were also concerning details including references to poor food services, quality of care and safety issues, and challenges with aging infrastructure. Some of the examples provided were very troubling and while the challenges identified are not systemic, they are widespread enough to cause significant concern.
To address this, our government has invested $10 million in a Long-Term Care Urgent Issues Action Fund which may be applied to a range of quality of care improvements based on the region-identified priorities like increasing the frequency of baths, improving nutrition, improving responsiveness to call bells or adding training for dementia care.
Many of these changes are not just about money; they are about doing things differently, efficiently and better. The Lean work we are undertaking as part of our healthcare transformation agenda is foundational to this, allowing staff more direct care time with residents.
I have also directed the senior leadership in each health region to continue with facility visits every year. I have asked the Ministry of Health to design a quality of care survey that can be completed by each Resident and Family Council annually and submitted directly to my office. Later this fall, I will be gathering together key stakeholders in the long-term care sector to focus on quality and appropriate models of care.
I am confident that actions undertaken through the action fund combined with Lean and other quality of care improvements will have a positive impact on current and future residents living in long-term care.
Dustin Duncan, Sask. Minister of Health

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