Monday, December 21, 2020

Reports on Special Care homes troubling

There’s an old saying: When someone shows you who they are, believe it.
The same holds true for governments. We had hoped that unlike his Conservative counterparts in other provinces, the Premier Higgs-led government wouldn’t prioritize profits of corporations over people. Perhaps he would put the needs and rights of New Brunswickers ahead of political ideology.
The past two weeks have demonstrated this is not the case.
The story concerning the Lokia Group of Special Care homes – including Manoir de la Vallée – have been difficult to read and process. After receiving a special exemption from the province to reduce staff ratios, both former employees and family members of residents described completely unacceptable living conditions.
We won’t rehash all of the problems listed by the former employees and family members, but the stories done by CBC can be accessed here.
The response from the CEO was to quibble over the difference between frail and dehydrated. He also said saving money wasn’t the goal, but rather measuring patient needs.
And what about Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch, here’s a passage from an article in the Telegraph-Journal website:
[Fitch] said housekeeping had “fallen behind” during the COVID-19 outbreak in May and June at Manoir de la Vallée in Atholville, during which time that two residents died, but files had been reviewed and he insisted “any complaints about patient care were unfounded.”
People died during a pilot project which reduced staff. Employees and family members have come forward describing numerous problems caused by the pilot project. The minister brushes those aside as unfounded because some files had been looked over.
At the very least, an investigation needs to be done. The fact that the minister doesn’t see this and is defending the company despite evidence to the contrary is troubling.
Later on in the Telegraph-Journal article the CEO of Lokia Group said they are finalizing a report on the pilot project and said people will be surprised at the results, and adding “[T]hey will feel guilty for making the big, big storm.”
It’s our opinion no one should ever feel guilty for believing residents of these homes deserve better. These are people who have suffered during this program, not simply numbers on a spread sheet, both the CEO and Minister Fitch would be wise to remember that.