Cries of hurt, anguish, distress and calls of mismanagement echo around the province in response to Pallister government's cuts to home care.
Since the Pallister government's cuts to home care came into effect, there have been many who have spoken out in alarm.
As the Winnipeg Free Press reported "The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has temporarily suspended home care services considered to be non-essential - including bathing, laundry, cleaning and respite" I am hearing these cutbacks are also occurring in regional health authorities outside of Winnipeg. The cutbacks are not small. For example "about half the residents at five of the company's [Homestead Manitoba] assisted living facilities are affected."
The reaction I have seen and communication sent to me has been extraordinarily strong, and has been coming from reasonable and responsible Manitobans. Cutting back on home care will result in more people getting sick and having to be in institutions including personal care homes and hospitals. It will also result in more visitors to existing facilities as family members scramble to find ways to cover for the Pallister government's cutbacks. The increase in visitors has the potential to increase rather than decrease the spread of COVID-19. The reaction I have seen, heard and received is below:
During the shower or bath given by home care, the worker has a chance to inspect the person's skin to make sure there are no bedsores or other skin problems. If not attended to, these result to deterioration in health and institutionalization including into personal care home and hospitals.
"No baths, no surveillance of skin integrity, open sores, sepsis, increase in hospital admissions, increase in mortality rates."
"Not only old people, All those able to live at home with special needs."
"Omg unbelievable. What about dignity. and yes infection"
"Oh my God. That's a human rights violation"
"This is human neglect on the part of the government."
"They're preaching and preaching hygiene and they pull that service, unbelievable"
"I was so upset. I think this is actually ludicrous. A 98-year-old woman, with the COVID-19 virus going around — I don't want her not to be clean... It's inhumane. This is how seniors who have worked hard all these years are treated in their twilight years? ... As Canadians, can't we give a 98-year-old woman a bath? I am not asking for the moon. Just give her a bath.”
"When are people going to freaking wake up"
"The reduction in home care also comes with a risk of falls and injuries as senior's children attempt to provide care."
"Hospitalization will go up."
"The risk of sepsis will go up and that in an elderly person is more dangerous than COVID-19"
"Look what happened in Quebec [referring to the personal care homes disaster]
"It's almost like the government is saying let's kill off a few more old people"