Two workers at Good Samaritan’s Southgate Care Centre, home of the deadliest COVID-19 outbreak in Alberta, have come forward with allegations of neglect and mistreatment of residents.
So far, 34 people have died from coronavirus at the home.
A nurse said she was concerned about the level of care patients are receiving and felt she needed to share her first-hand experience, as the vast majority of families are not allowed inside due to possible contamination.
“If people aren’t aware of what’s going on, especially family members, then I don’t think anything will be done,” she said.
“If I were to stand back and keep my story to myself, then I’m just as bad as everybody doing it.”
Global News has agreed not to identify the workers to protect their positions.
She alleges while working at Good Samaritan Southgate, staff failed to use basic hygiene routines for residents.
“I was shocked over the fact that nobody was giving them a proper bed bath or washing them properly,” the nurse said.
She also said she has worked at multiple care homes over her career and Southgate stands out.
“These patients look dirty. Their hair is greasy, their eyes hadn’t been wiped in the morning from the sleep in them, gowns weren’t being changed, nor were people putting them in their own regular clothes,” she said.
The nurse pointed out that during the pandemic, the lack of cleanliness is especially egregious.
“That’s just leaving a breeding ground for bacteria and for COVID to spread more easily in my opinion. They can’t do it themselves. They can’t wash their hands themselves and they can’t wash the rest of their body themselves.”
The nurse’s sentiments are echoed by a second worker – a health care aide who was also inside Southgate during the course of the pandemic.
“Half bed baths should be given every single day. Whereas a full bed bath – if they’re not doing showers, on the shower days the full bed bath should be given, and a hair wash – but that was not happening.” she said.
The health care aide alleges that she also noticed a number of problems after patients soiled themselves.
“Some residents were left in their own urine all night.”
She said sometimes, other aides would change a patient’s incontinence product, but not their wet bedding.
The aide said the building itself was also dirty.
“Housekeeping doesn’t do a very good job. Floors are sticky,” she said – adding she often found crumbs on the floor.
The health care aide also said shortcuts were taken when it came to personal protective equipment.
“They might change their gown and gloves, but they won’t always changes their face shield and mask. People aren’t always hand sanitizing after every single resident’s room, I noticed.”
In a statement, the interim president of The Good Samaritan Society, Michelle Bonnici wrote: “While we can’t speak to these specific allegations, we have always encouraged our employees to bring forward any issues, and we take all concerns seriously.”
“Throughout the outbreak, we have passed several Public Health audits verifying that residents are receiving quality care and services from our employees. If there are any recommendations following an audit, they are addressed immediately.”
Each of the workers felt their concerns were not taken seriously.
“Everything was very brushed off,” the health care aide said.
“It hurts my heart to see these people there, and they aren’t my family. I personally wouldn’t put any of my family members in that building, until it changes. No one deserves that kind of treatment.”
Alberta Health said it had received a general complaint about the facility and conducted an investigation, but the concern could not be substantiated. It wouldn’t elaborate on the nature of the complaint.
Recently, family members of the residents launched a class action lawsuit against Good Samaritan Southgate alleging residents “were denied adequate care and assistance” when it came to COVID-19 and that the company failed to follow proper illness prevention practices during the pandemic.
The lawsuit has not yet been approved by a judge nor have the claims been proven in court. Good Samaritan has not yet filed a statement of defence.
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