Providing long term, supportive care to the people of Southeastern Saskatchewan is one of our primary services within Sun Country Health Region. We have over 660 beds occupied by elderly and some younger residents who can no longer care for themselves at home.
This year, thanks to $812,000 in additional funding from the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health, we will make improvements in our service to further enrich the lives of our residents.
The largest amount of the funds, about $305,000, will be used to train our hundreds of caregivers in a new program to help them better understand and work with residents who need a very careful touch, especially the increasing numbers that have some form of dementia.
The program, called the Gentle Persuasion Approach, will give our staff more tools to understand what is triggering different resident behaviors, some aggressive, and then respectfully and gently defuse a potentially difficult situation. The expectation is to reduce the frustration of the resident and/or staff, and prevent physical aggression.
The training will help staff extricate her(him)self if a resident pulls their hair or pinches them and/or prevent the behavior from occurring.
Staff will have more ability to understand what residents are trying to tell them, even if the resident has lost the ability to verbally communicate effectively.
The new funding will also make it possible to purchase new hot food carts for eight facilities, several nurse call systems, about 100 mattress replacements, two new bath slings for each facility, two new specialized air mattresses for each facility to prevent pressure ulcers and an expansion of activities into the weekends to help to maximize residents' independence and improve their quality of life.
One of the concerns I heard when I toured the facilities last spring was that weekends can be very long for some residents when the activities departments are shut down. Boredom is one of the issues our residents face and we are trying to alleviate that with our activities programs.
This extra funding will help us staff the weekend shifts to provide stimulating activities and recreation.
With these positive changes, with our enthusiastic and capable staff, with the new long term beds in Redvers and new centres under construction in Radville and Kipling, we expect to hear a higher level of satisfaction from our residents and their families.