Concerned daughter wants transparency from private Sask. care home amid COVID-19 outbreak

·3 min read

Diane Bodnarek wants more transparency from the care home where her mom and dad live after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared there.

Her parents live at Eaglestone Lodge in Kamsack, Sask., about 225 kilometres northeast of Regina. An outbreak at the home was declared on the province's website on Dec. 18.

Bodnarek said the only official update from the care home was about the first positive case on Dec. 17 and that families have been left in the dark about the severity of the outbreak.

"When we call they say 'oh,we're so busy, can we get somebody to call you back,'" she said. But the calls aren't returned. She said she knows the home is busy, but families have a right to know.

The lack of communication has taken a toll.

"I'm stressed and crying on different days," she said. "Talking right now, I'm just shaking talking about it and I'm walking around with a red face. [I'm] just tired."

To make matters worse, her parents were confirmed positive for the virus on Dec. 25 and 26. Bodnarek's 79-year-old mom lives in the independent living section of the home, apart from Bodnarek's 89-year-old dad, who requires more care.

Bodnarek said Wednesday that rumours are swirling about the number of cases and that she has heard of at least one death.

Two residents have died from the outbreak, according to the Ministry of Health. There were 19 confirmed resident cases and one staff case linked to the outbreak as of Tuesday. This information has not been posted publicly.

What I wish for is transparency. - Diane Bodnarek

Bodnarek said she hears bits and pieces of what's going on because she can still get her mom on the phone and knows people connected to the home because her dad has been there for three yeas.

The assisted living facility did not respond to CBC's requests for comment by phone, email or Facebook messenger on Tuesday or Wednesday. The personal care home is not operated by or affiliated with the Saskatchewan Health Authority.

Submitted by Diane Bodnarek
Submitted by Diane Bodnarek

Bodnarek said an external intervention is needed. She said they want to know how many people the virus has affected, as well as what protocols and precautions are put into place. She said that even on Christmas Day — long after an outbreak was declared — her dad was being fed in the main dining room.

Bodnarek said she believes the home is trying its best, but is understaffed and under resourced. She's concerned about what food is being offered to residents during the health crisis and was told the cook had to isolate. Her mom has reported being served cold cereal, hot dogs and frozen vegetables since.

"Because they're a private care home they say that they can't afford stuff," Bodnarek said.

She said there were only two people working on during a recent night when her dad fell out of bed, and when her mom's toilet backed up, it took several phone calls from her to get it fixed. The staff didn't return to clean up the mess, she said.

"My mom was on her hands and knees, wiping all that stuff ... all her towels sopping up everything."

Submitted by Diane Bodnarek
Submitted by Diane Bodnarek

Bodnarek said she's trying to feel hopeful about small positives. Her parents don't appear to have the worst of symptoms right now. Her dad is reportedly in good spirits. She can't talk to him but she has peeked through the venetian blinds on his window and saw him in his chair. She can still drop them off some groceries and cough syrup.

However, she's not clear what will happen next and worries she will be left in the dark.

"We're not getting any updates. Nothing," she said. "What I wish for is transparency. Why shouldn't they be writing us something, all the families, and let us know exactly what's going on in there? Keep us up to date."