“Once again, health care managers are treating patients as the problem, rather than investigating how the health region can improve access to long term care beds. How is this approach putting patients first?” — Karen Wasylenko, President Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon (3 Nov. 2015) – There is such a backlog of patients in Saskatoon hospitals, who have been assessed and approved for long term care placement, but don’t have a bed to go to, that the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR) is trying to convince seniors and their families to accept a move to one of the region’s rural hospitals, where they may wait months before they finally get a long term care bed, Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS/CHPS) President Karen Wasylenko said today.
Many patients being moved more than 2 hours drive away
“Many health regions have longstanding policies that force hospital patients who have been assessed and approved for long term care placement, to accept the “first available bed”, no matter where that might be within the health region. The SHR is taking that one step further by trying to ship patients waiting in Saskatoon hospitals for a long term care bed, to rural hospitals as much as two hours drive from the City of Saskatoon,” Wasylenko said.
“SHR has 30 long term care facilities with just over 22-hundred beds, but that has to serve a population of more than 342-thousand people. Saskatoon hospitals are overcapacity, unable to admit new patients in a timely manner, in part, because so many hospital beds are taken up by seniors who have been assessed and approved for long term care placement, but don’t have a long term care bed to go to,” Wasylenko explained.
Services for seniors inadequate
“SHR is trying to hide its inadequate long term care capacity by shipping seniors out of Saskatoon to various rural hospitals to wait for long term care placement. While this separation is hard enough on seniors and their families, once they do get a long term care bed, it could again be anywhere within the region, forcing another move to a community far from home,” Wasylenko noted.
“The health region is even offering “incentives” for those who agree to move to a rural hospital, such as waving long term care fees for the first month, providing free ambulance transportation to the rural hospital, and offering a family member mileage to cover one visit per week,” Wasylenko noted.
“Once again, health care managers are treating patients as the problem, rather than investigating how the health region can improve access to long term care beds. How is this approach putting patients first?” Wasylenko asked.
Health Sciences Association of Saskatchewan
Health Sciences represents 3700 specialized health care professionals from more than thirty professions including: Emergency care workers like Paramedics; Acute care workers like Hospital Pharmacists and Respiratory Therapists; Rehab professionals like Physical Therapists and Speech Language Pathologists; and Community-based professionals like Public Health Inspectors and Social Workers.
HSAS is a member of the Canadian Health Professionals Secretariat.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE