The NDP has introduced a bill that, if passed, will require the government to establish minimum quality of care standards that apply to seniors care homes throughout the province.
Bill 606, The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act, is a private member’s bill introduced by NDP health critic Danielle Chartier. It requires each seniors care home in Saskatchewan to have a Residents’ Bill of Rights that guarantees respect, dignity and safety for seniors in Saskatchewan care homes.
“Saskatchewan has a seniors care crisis, and a significant part of the problem is the government’s elimination of minimum standards that has led to understaffing, underfunding and absolutely unacceptable treatment of people,” said Chartier.“Our parents, our grandparents are being left to soil themselves because caregivers don’t have time to help them to the bathroom. They’re not being given the time or help to eat meals. In many cases, they’re not getting a bath even once per week. The treatment of our loved ones in care homes simply must get better.”
Under the law, each care home would have a Residents in Care Bill of Rights, created in consultation with residents and their families. Each Bill of Rights must guarantee the right of residents to have individualized care plans, which are based on input from the resident and their family members, and which meet or exceed the new minimum quality of care standards.
“Every senior living in a care home deserves, at a minimum, to be offered regular meals, regular baths and a minimum amount of one-on-one care. They deserve to have a caregiver help them to and from the bathroom in a timely manner. They deserve to know that when they ring a call bell for help, help is coming,” said Chartier.
In 2011, the government eliminated minimum care standards and adequate staffing regulation from Saskatchewan law.
Over the past year, seniors in care, their families, front-line staff and the NDP have spoken out against the shocking lack of basic care, rooted in understaffing problems in facilities throughout the province.
The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act will receive first reading in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. The NDP hopes to have the government’s cooperation to pass the bill before the end of the spring session of the Legislature.