A resident at the Parkridge Centre, a long-term care home in Saskatoon, has raised concerns about COVID-19 protocols at the facility that he says may be eroding quality of life, citing issues ranging from limited access to fresh air and cold meals to not being able to get a bath.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority-ran facility, which is home to roughly 237 people, was placed under COVID-19 protocols on Sept. 5 after a case was confirmed inside the facility.
Tygan Paul has been living at Parkridge for roughly 18 months and was one of the residents told to self-isolate due to potential exposure. He said Parkridge is normally a great place to live, but that things started to change after the case was confirmed.
"I understand that we've been quarantined for 14 days ... but that shouldn't affect the quality of our food," Paul said.
He posted on Facebook about his concerns.
"The last straw, that led to me going so far as to put that post on Facebook, was when they said that we were not going to get our baths at all," he said.
Paul said he didn't make the post out of spite or to smear the facility, but to bring people's attention to what residents were experiencing. He said while he expected some changes at the facility, he didn't expect to have his quality of life put at risk.
"Not just physically," he said. "But mentally, emotionally and psychologically. Good hygiene promotes good health and our hygiene schedules are already pretty tough here."
Crystal Greenwood was also upset at the facility's response to the case.
Her father has been living at Parkridge for almost two years. She said while he isn't in the affected area, her family received next to no information about the case and the facility's plan moving forward.
"I wasn't sure as to what was going on," Greenwood said.
She said she didn't know if her dad's area of the facility was affected, or if they were doing blanket testing. Greenwood said this was especially frustrating for her family, as her sister had been at the facility the morning it was locked down, but was never contacted.
Greenwood said her issue was not with frontline staff, but with how information was relayed.
"We just want to make sure they were taking the proper steps," she said.
Paul said representatives from the SHA met with staff at the facility after his Facebook post started getting some reaction online.
He's pleased the post appears to have spurred action. He said those in isolation have now been permitted access to fresh air and that the quality of food has improved.
He missed a bath as a result of the lock down, but has been told it will be made up in the coming days.
Paul said the entire experience is a reminder of how powerful social media can be if someone is willing to speak out.
"With enough voices, things can change, as long as someone is willing to speak up first."
Dalene Newton, the Saskatchewan Health Authority's executive sirector of continuing care for the Saskatoon urban region, said in a statement that no other cases have been recorded at the facility.
She said that as of late Thursday afternoon, the protocols would allow some more freedom for those in isolation.
"Those protocols will allow residents who are on precautions and have tested negative for COVID-19 to leave their rooms for brief periods if they agree to wear a mask, go directly to and from their neighbourhood balcony and provided there is enhanced cleaning of the areas they have direct contact with."
She said Parkridge is working with Saskatoon's medical health officer to ensure provincial protocols are being followed and officials are evaluating the situation on a daily basis.
Newton also said staff are working with residents and families to provide custom supports as needed. This includes personalized in-room care, including bathing.
She said all residents were told in person about the outbreak and that next of kin of residents were also informed about the situation.