The province's health minister was taken to task Tuesday over the quality of long-term care in Saskatchewan, after a woman complained about seeing patients left on toilets for hours at a time.
Carrie Klassen has been advocating for improvements in long-term care ever since her mother was moved to a facility in Regina after suffering a brain aneurysm in 2010.
"In many ways what I have witnessed as a concerned family member is heart-breaking," Klassen said in a letter to Health Minister Dustin Duncan, delivered last November.
Klassen provided her letter and spoke about her concerns Tuesday at the legislature.
Klassen said she has seen residents of the long-term care facility her mother is in left on toilets for hours at a time because there are not enough staff to provide assistance.
She has even heard patients calling for help, after falling, with no response.
"One week, my mom never got a bath because the care aide, she was by herself in the evening," Klassen added. "She was one care aide for 19 residents. Can you imagine looking after 19 people?"
According to Klassen, Saskatchewan's ratio of care providers to patients is low compared to standards in other provinces.
Late Tuesday, provincial officials told CBC News that Saskatchewan does not use a standard ratio of residents to care givers, in long term care homes.
However, there are specialized tools that are used to evaluate the needs of a facility and the staff to meet those needs. Those tools are guides to individual facilities, officials said.
According to the government, staffing levels vary from location to location and health regions are expected to provide appropriate care that is safe.
Klassen said she has organized meetings of family members and facility managers, to try and resolve concerns, but — in her letter to Duncan — she says "no real changes have been seen as a result of our consultations."
Duncan said Tuesday he will meet with Klassen and look into her concerns.
"It wouldn't be a situation that me or my family would be satisfied [with]," Duncan said. Absolutely not. It wouldn't be something that would sit well with me."
With files from CBC's Stefani Langenegger
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