Care

Sask. NDP promises improvements to long-term care homes

The Saskatchewan NDP has committed to strengthening standards in the province’s long term care homes. 

NDP candidate for Saskatoon Fairview Vicki Mowat said at an event Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a stark reminder of the importance of adequate staffing in long term care homes. 

“We’ve seen the impacts that cuts and underfunding of long term care have had in other places across Canada,” she said. “Cuts to dignified care for seniors are a bad idea at the best of times. Right now, they’re downright dangerous.”

Mowat said the NDP is looking to bring back standards of minimum hours of care per resident that were cut in 2011 and replaced by program guidelines for special care homes in 2013. 

“This would help ensure each resident has the time they need with health-care workers to stay safe, to be healthy and to live a dignified life,” Mowat said. “It would also relieve the pressure on workers, increase staffing in facilities and ensure caregivers have the time they need to do their job safely.”

Saskatoon resident Brenda Cromwell said this policy would have helped her family when her father, who had dementia and required a high level of care, lived in a care home. 

“The care workers who cared for my father did the best they could but sometimes, basic care needs were not met in a timely manner because the facilities were chronically understaffed,” Cromwell said.

“Eventually, my brother left his job and between the two of us, we were with my dad an average of 14 hours a day, working two shifts of seven hours each, seven days a week. We did this to supplement my father’s care.”

Cromwell said she saw how understaffing problems impacted long term care home residents, families and staff.

“I saw seniors trapped

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Care homes in England to name relatives as key workers to allow visits

Relatives of care home residents in England are to be designated as key workers so they can be tested regularly for Covid-19 and continue to visit loved ones.



Photograph: Robin Weaver/Alamy


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Robin Weaver/Alamy

The plans, initially a pilot project, with no details about how they would be rolled out, were announced to MPs on Tuesday by the care minister, Helen Whately. They are a win for families and charities that have been calling for months for relatives to be given the same key worker status as staff.

Along with testing, the single designated relative would be trained in the use of PPE, she said, although she was unable to give a date for when the pilot would begin.

Organisations including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society have been calling for such a move, arguing in a letter to the government in July that the care given by family members was essential to dementia patients’ wellbeing. Social distancing restrictions had contributed to a “hidden catastrophe” in care homes, which had been closed to non-essential visitors since March, they said.

Whately has been challenged at the science and technology committee and health and social care committee over mistakes and mishandling that led to a huge Covid-19 death toll in care homes this year.

Jeremy Hunt, the former Conservative health minister who chaired the sitting, put it to her that care homes should have been banned from taking transfers from hospitals where tests were unavailable, or if it had not been possible to quarantine the person, as was the case in Germany.

“I know it’s very easy to say things with hindsight, but looking back we should have done that here, shouldn’t we?” he asked.

She replied that this would not happen now, and that the Department for Health had

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Montana’s care homes struggle with staffing and ever-changing regulations as COVID-19 cases rise | State & Regional

During the first three months of the pandemic, Coe kept a bed in his office because he didn’t want to infect his family and wanted to reassure his staff he was there for them.

“Health care and our industry didn’t bring this to the state, but we’re living with choices everybody makes whether you gown up, mask up, you wash your hands — whatever happens, if it gets into the facility, we have to live with whatever happens,” Coe said.

‘Staff doesn’t grow on trees’

The Montana Health Care Association serves long-term care facilities in the state, and many have reached out to get answers and support, according to Rose Hughes, the association’s executive director.

“To me it has just brought forth a whole new experience and lots of questions about how should these things be handled,” Hughes said in an interview in September. “What can you do? Because staff doesn’t grow on trees and facilities have trouble hiring staff as it is.”

Hughes said that several assisted living facilities have reached out for help.

She said the association has asked DPHHS multiple times for written guidance for assisted living facilities.

“Usually the response was, well, they need to follow CDC guidance,” she said. But, trying to navigate the CDC website for answers can be daunting.

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Research big-ticket furniture purchases with care

During the COVID-19 outbreak, online furniture sales has skyrocketed. This increase likely reflects the home improvements many homeowners are making, parents shopping for desks for home school learning, and employees who have permanently switched to a work from home situation.

Convenience aside, making large purchases online should always be approached with care. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Houston and South Texas offers the following tips for consumers to help select quality furniture at a reasonable price as well as avoid a few common online shopping pitfalls:

Only shop with reputable retailers. Research a retailer’s page before deciding to do business with them. Reputable sellers provide information about their company and always have valid contact information. Look for company reviews online. For example, on BBBHouston.org, shoppers can find out if an online retailer is BBB accredited, read consumer complaints and reviews.

Understand the store’s return and refund policy, especially during the current pandemic. Return shipping for heavy items, such as furniture, can get costly. Some retailers may have special restrictions for delivery and returns because of the coronavirus pandemic. Before placing an order, read carefully or call the retailer directly to find out upfront if a retailer has a return policy, if refunds are available, how refunds are issued, what the return process is, who pays for return shipping, and whether or not a restocking fee is charged. This information will often help decide whether or not you will complete the order.

Get to know the delivery options. Typically, there are three kinds of shipping offered by furniture retailers and each one may have a different cost.


Front door delivery: the packaged product will be shipped to your front door and no further.

Inside delivery: the delivery person will take the packaged furniture into your home, sometimes into the room

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Care homes in England fear new Covid-19 cases as 90% of test results delayed

Nearly nine out of 10 Covid-19 tests taken under the system used by care homes in England were returned after the government’s 48-hour target in September, official figures reveal.



a man and a woman sitting in a room: Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Lindsey Parnaby/AFP via Getty Images

The performance of the NHS test-and-trace system has sparked warnings from care managers that continued delays will increase the risk of infection among their vulnerable residents.

At the end of the first month in which tests were routinely provided to care home staff and residents, 87% of those carried out at satellite testing centres, predominantly used by care homes, were returned after more than two days. Over half took more than three days to come back.

Related: Health officials fear de-prioritising of Covid testing in care homes in England

Ministers had promised weekly testing in care homes in the summer, but it only began comprehensively in September. The health minister James Bethelltold parliament 48 hours was the target for getting results back.

Care workers are now being tested weekly and residents monthly, but managers are concerned that delays of over a week in some cases in receiving results mean asymptomatic staff could be spreading infection.

Recorded infections in care homes have been falling slightly, according to Public Health England figures, but there are fears that in areas of rising community infection, such as the north of England, once the virus gets into homes there are likely to be increases in cases.

Mark Adams, the chief executive of Community Integrated Care, a national charity that is one of the biggest care providers in Liverpool, said it currently ttook three and a half days on average to get results. Only one in five weekly staff tests were coming back with the government’s 48-hour target.

There have only been a handful of positive

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