Statement from Friends of Medicare on Story at St. Therese Villa

September 11, 2013

Friends of Medicare Executive Director Sandra Azocar released the following statement today regarding the story at St. Therese Villa in Lethbridge:

"We thank the minister for his prompt and serious reaction to the reports of mice and bedbugs in the St. Therese Villa senior's care facility in Lethbridge. We are pleased by the announcement that the government will be conducting a full and thorough investigation under the Protection of Persons in Care Act.

Unfortunately, Covenant Health, the organization that runs St. Therese Villa, has tried to downplay the seriousness of this matter. We do not have confidence in Covenant Health's investigation of an incident in its own facility. It is a matter of public record that there are mice and bedbugs in this facility. It is unfortunate that it has taken the courage of staff speaking out to Friends of Medicare to prompt a serious response from Covenant Health.

We are looking forward to the results of the government's investigation, and we are pleased they are moving quickly. We are asking the government to guarantee protection for any whistle-blowers coming forward with information on the incident. We hope the government's investigation is a first step towards addressing the systemic issues around safety and quality-of-care regulations as well as staffing issues in Alberta's seniors' care system. We at Friends of Medicare will support this investigation in any way we can, and will be making all of our documentation available to the government.

We will continue to speak with our sources, and will continue to conduct research into this matter. By conducting a full investigation, Minister Fred Horne is sending an important message to seniors care facility operators throughout Alberta, reminding them that they cannot ignore the concerns of their staff members, patients, and their families."