At least 40 of our province’s seniors who were living at Extendicare Parkside in Regina have died, and almost all residents and staff at the facility have been infected since a COVID-19 outbreak was first declared on November 20, 2020.
I am shaken by the scale of this tragedy. It is heartbreaking and should never have occurred. As a 30-year long-term care nurse and president of Saskatchewan’s largest healthcare union, and as a daughter, mother, sister, wife, and proud citizen of this province, I want answers.
SUN member reports of understaffing, overcrowding, poor ventilation, lack of PPE, ageing medical equipment, and concerns about cleanliness, both sadden and infuriate me. Our seniors deserve better. They deserve to live with dignity in a healthy environment, and their families deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved ones are safe – especially during a global pandemic to which our seniors are particularly vulnerable.
Our seniors deserve better. They deserve to live with dignity in a healthy environment, and their families deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing their loved ones are safe – especially during a global pandemic to which our seniors are particularly vulnerable.
If we are to fix this, it must start with a transparent and full investigation into what occurred at Parkside Extendicare. We need to examine what factors lead to this facility’s lack of preparedness to prevent such tragedy. There are lessons to be learned and changes that need to happen – not just at Parkside, but throughout the long-term care system.
Today, I wrote to Premier Scott Moe on behalf of Saskatchewan’s more than 10,000 Registered Nurses, Registered Psychiatric Nurses and Nurse Practitioners, and the patients and families they care for, calling upon our government to conduct a Public Inquiry into the COVID-19 Outbreak at Extendicare Parkside.
Click here to read my letter to Premier Moe.
Moving into 2021, it is my hope that as a society we will have the courage to tackle the shortcomings in our long-term care system by listening to our frontline experts, learning from past mistakes, and working together to ensure all of us can grow old with dignity in a caring, safe environment.
We can no longer turn our backs on our seniors – we owe them everything. If this pandemic has taught me anything, it is that we ALL need to stand together and look out for one another.
Tracy Zambory, RN