Skip to main content

'I feel we are forgotten': Saskatoon long term care residents speak out about staff shortages


Residents of a Saskatoon care home are speaking out about staff shortages and broken equipment in their facility.

Three residents from Oliver Lodge in Saskatoon say they feel the need to advocate for themselves and other seniors who don’t have a voice.

Pat Montay came to Oliver Lodge almost two years ago after moving from her own home. Severe arthritis made living on her own too difficult without physiotherapists coming to her home.

After living in a long-term care home, she has come to realize how undervalued seniors are.

“I feel we are the forgotten. I paid taxes in this province since I was sixteen years old. Every year of my life and I still pay taxes,” Montay told CTV News.

She’s 80-years-old now and feels it’s time to speak out about the shortage of staff to care for seniors, not only in Oliver Lodge, but everywhere.

With many of residents in wheelchairs and reliant on someone to move them, dress them, clean them and feed them, Montay says there needs to be more funding so more nurses and other care staff can be available to help.

Montay doesn’t have an issue with the staff — she says they’re doing their best and are very caring. There just aren’t enough of them.

Sometimes residents are left to sit for long periods after meals or other gatherings because there are just a few staff members to wheel everyone back to their rooms, Montay says.

“It’s bad. Sometimes on a Sunday morning, there are two or three staff. There are 32 residents to get up,” she says.

The director of the care home acknowledged that residents are left to wait, but says they have not been down to two staff per 32 residents, based on the last 36 months of paid scheduling records.

Montay also wants to see additional properly trained staff in areas like food service to ensure dietary requirements are met.

Montay has issues with food choices she says are not healthy — like being served pasta for lunch and then again for supper which followed toast for breakfast.

She wonders how this intense carbohydrate load can be viewed as a balanced diet. There are few fresh vegetables served with meals, except for some apples and oranges.

Two other residents, along with one of their daughters, didn’t want their names used for fear that it would make the situation worse for themselves. They realized if they don’t speak up, no one else will.

In a conversation, the group shares concerns with equipment that has broken down like the machines used to lift immobile residents from bed for example. These hoists are breaking down they say along with the brakes on beds which take a long time to be fixed and some are not fixed at all.

They see speaking out as an important step towards change for seniors in general and hope that government rethinks the amount of money they are allocating for senior care.

We reached out to the administration from Oliver Lodge, run by the Saskatchewan Health Authority, and executive director Frank Suchorab offered a response via email.

“Our providers, our care teams, need help, we are always working tirelessly in order to provide the best possible services. All of our health care services are challenged — ensuring baseline staffing levels, responding to staffing needs in every health care setting and every service line, is a well documented concern,” the statement said. Top Stories

Stay Connected