‘Mentally, I was not in a good place’: Home care client speaks out against public program
Published Thursday, October 4, 2018 7:01PM CST
Last Updated Friday, October 5, 2018 10:16AM CST
A woman with muscular dystrophy said her quality of life improved after leaving Saskatchewan’s public home care system.
Erin Millikin, 43, has been a client through Saskatchewan’s home care program since she was 18.
Millikin said the quality of the home care program, managed by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA), has declined over the past year.
“It got to the point where it wasn’t client-based anymore, it was a ‘get in-get out,’” said Millikin, who requires help doing tasks -- like getting dressed and bathing.
“I’m a human being, I’m not just a two-hour slot within a person’s day.”
She said the SHA notified her that her home care visits would be cut back from two-to-three hours a day to one hour a day. She said that forced her to choose between things like going to the bathroom or getting dressed.
“The safety and well-being of anyone in our care is a very high priority, as well as the safety and well-being of our staff. This includes ensuring we have appropriate staffing levels in our home care,” a SHA spokesperson told CTV News in an email.
Millikin said due to the staffing cutback, she once didn’t get out of bed for four days.
“Mentally, I was not in a good place,” said Millikin.
Millikin is now part of the province’s individualized funding program – where the government sends patients or guardians money directly and they manage their own care.
“I don’t have any stress. I get up every day. I get the baths every day if I want – every second day if I want. It’s just a totally different, it’s a positive experience,” said Millikin.
“I don’t want other people to go through what I had to go through. I don’t want someone to stay in bed for four days because they feel that’s their only option. No, there are other options.”
But the individualized funding program is limited. Potential recipients must undergo an assessment process, according to the Ministry of Health.
In 2016, there were 44,240 home care clients provincially. In the same year, there were only 124 people on the individualized program.