SHA to assume operation of Sask. Extendicare long-term care homes
The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announced it will be taking over full responsibility of Extendicare’s five long-term care homes in the province.
During a press conference Thursday, the health authority said it will be working collaboratively with Extendicare to establish a process to transfer operations.
“We will be working together to transition the delivery of long-term care services provided by Extendicare to the Saskatchewan Health Authority,” SHA CEO Scott Livingstone said.
Livingstone said while the Ombudsman’s report on the COVID-19 outbreak at Regina’s Extendicare Parkside and a recent SHA report on Extendicare facilities factored into the decision, there is no one specific event that led to the transition.
According to the Ombudsman’s report, Extendicare Parkside was unprepared for the COVID-19 outbreak that left 39 residents dead.
“In this instance there were multiple review processes at play, including the Ombudsman’s report and multiple layers of analysis,” Livingstone said.
“We took into account the many lessons we’ve learned during the pandemic, the ongoing increases in demand for long-term care services and the increasingly complex needs of older age groups served in long-term care homes in Saskatchewan."
Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Seniors and Rural and Remote Health Everett Hindley said some concerns in the facilities surrounded variations within pandemic planning and readiness policies.
“There were some gaps that were identified,” Hindley said.
Additionally, Livingstone highlighted concerns around infection control practices at the Parkside facility. Following review and discussion, he noted that no other “significant” problems surfaced at other facilities but there were some other “challenges.”
Hindley said a “high level summary” of the recent report filed to the Ministry of Health by the SHA will be made publicly available.
The SHA began overseeing Extendicare homes through a co-management agreement on Aug. 5, 2021. The SHA and Extendicare will continue to work within the framework of the recently extended co-management agreement, while the transition occurs.
This change will not result in immediate changes for residents, families and staff. The SHA said it will attempt to maintain consistency of care and service, and involve health system and union partners during the transition process. The transfer will take place over “many months.”
“Moving forward, the SHA will continue to cooperate with Extendicare to determine the process and timeline for completing this transition,” Livingstone said.
The five Extendicare homes are located in Regina (three), Saskatoon and Moose Jaw. These homes provide approximately 550 long-term care spaces.
“Extendicare has more than 50 years of experience in Canada working cooperatively with governments, health agencies and community partners to identify solutions to the challenges we face in the sector,” said Dr. Michael Guerriere, President and CEO, Extendicare. “We are committed to work collaboratively with the SHA to support the transition process while remaining focused on the needs of residents, families and staff throughout.”
The SHA is currently responsible for 150 long-term care homes throughout the province.
The Saskatchewan NDP said they welcome the news of the transition. Official Opposition Critic for Seniors Matt Love raised concerns about the amount of time it took for the province to take action on long-term care homes.
“Today’s announcement is one that’s long overdue,” Love said, in a release Thursday. “Our party has been highlighting the issues with this private care provider in Saskatchewan for nearly a decade. The issues at Extendicare aren’t new, and it shouldn’t have taken so long for this government to act.”
The opposition is calling on the government to rollover Extendicare staff into the SHA and implement outstanding recommendations for improving long-term care, including the full implementation of the Ombudsman’s recommendations within a year.