Treatment of elderly patients at Prince Albert hospital alarming, FSIN says

·2 min read

The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says it has received a number of alarming calls about poor and unprofessional treatment of two elderly Indigenous patients at Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

In one case, the family of an 88-year-old man who does not speak English said he was restricted from having visitors or translators who could help him understand the treatment he was receiving at the hospital in the northern Saskatchewan city.

"We had another elderly woman's family call to tell us that she was being mistreated by rude and unprofessional nurses," said FSIN Vice-Chief David Pratt in a statement.

"She doesn't want to be named because she's scared that they'll treat her worse in retaliation."

Pratt says these stories emphasize the importance of consistent access to translators and patient support services in all Saskatchewan hospitals, as well as more First Nations hospitals in the province.

"This is why it is so important that we have our own First Nations doctors and nurses working within all hospitals throughout the province," FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron said in a statement.

"Our chiefs have been calling for a First Nations hospital in this region for years and this is the exact reason why. Our elderly patients are too scared to speak out against poor treatment or can't speak out at all because no one speaks the same language as them."

Andrew McLetchie, the Saskatchewan Health Authority's (SHA) vice-president for Integrated Northern Health, said he was aware of the concerns being raised by FSIN and said the authority has since reached out to the patients to ensure they have the supports they require.

He encouraged others who have concerns about their care to contact its quality of care coordinators.

"The SHA has supports for patients who do not speak English, including our staff, as well as partner organizations," McLetchie said.

"While there is limited family presence due to public health measures during the pandemic, we can and do arrange for family members to be present."

He said if there were any barriers to accessing services, patients and families should reach out to the SHA's First Nations and Métis Health Services for assistance.

McLetchie said the authority is working to create a culturally responsive system that includes requiring all new employees to take cultural responsiveness training.