Seniors Living in Appalling Conditions at St. Therese Villa - Covenant Health Facility

September 9, 2013

Friends of Medicare has learned that last Sunday, a dementia and disabled resident of the Lethbridge St. Therese Villa Designated Assisted Living facility - a Covenant Health facility - was discovered by a staff member with mice nibbling at her face.

"This situation is beyond reprehensible, it is utterly appalling," says Sandra Azocar, Executive Director Friends of Medicare. "Staff at this facility have been expressing concerns regarding mice for the pastĀ  year, and this is the same facility that has had an ongoing bed bug issues for over nine months."

"We have been advised that Management has now set more 'traps in the facility', contacted the family of the affected resident, however it is still unclear if Protection for People in Care haveĀ  been contacted regarding this particular case," said Azocar. "Nevertheless, while dealing with a major health threat to the residents as well as staff, residents continue to be left in their rooms, sleeping on bed-bug infested mattresses".

St. Theresa Villa, a 200-bed facility with five dementia units, was opened with a great deal of fanfare by Covenant Health as a pioneer facility for a new model of care that offers home-like options for residents. Residents bring in their own beds and other household items to the facility, which Azocar adds has created concerns around safety issues when transferring or lifting residents from their beds, as they are normally not medical beds.

Because the facility houses residents who require total care, as well as palliative care patients, staffing issues are another major concern underscored by this latest incident.

"Staff shortages have been an ongoing concern in this facility and during night shifts they have only one Care Aide available for 12 residents on each of the five dementia units. One Care Aide to care for approximately 34-38 residents in each floor and only two LPN's for the 200-bed facility," Azocar says.

Patient care staff is responsible for the daily upkeep of the facility, while housekeeping services have been contracted out to Aramark Canada.

"In one the richest provinces in this country there is no reason whatsoever that our seniors, parents, grandparents and other vulnerable Albertans should be living under these appalling conditions," concludes Azocar. "Covenant Health needs to take immediate and urgent action to deal with these health hazards and ensure that residents are receiving, dignified, safe and appropriate care."