Health officials made a reasonable decision to move 10 seniors out of a care home in Humboldt, Sask., earlier this year — but could have handled it better, Saskatchewan Ombudsman Kevin Fenwick says.
"The residents had the right to expect better treatment," Fenwick said in a report released Thursday.
Fenwick was asked to look into the move at St. Mary's Villa in Humboldt by the minister of health and the Saskatoon health region.
It was in February when the 10 residents, whose average age was 89, were told they had to move in eight days.
Fenwick notes that moving with eight days notice is tough for many people, but especially for people in their 80s and 90s.
Many of those residents were upset and so were their families.
Once the issue became public, health officials promised to review it.
The review found that there was no problem with the decision to move people. The care home in Humboldt had structural problems and one wing had to be closed.
However, the Ombudsman says residents could have be told of the possibility a lot sooner and the communication with them throughout could have been clearer.
Michael Pitzel, whose mother was one of the seniors, says the report shows the health region knew it would have to move the residents two months before they were actually told.
"My mother is 93 years of age and, jeepers, if you were told that you had to move within five days ... sit back and think about it. Could you do it?"
Fenwick had praise for many of the workers on the front lines for doing the best they could in a tough situation. He also had some recommendations for the health region
Those recommendations included developing a policy to guide future moves of elderly people in care.