FSIN raises concerns about treatment of elderly patients in Prince Albert hospital

PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations says it is concerned about reports of poor and unprofessional treatment of two elderly First Nation patients at a Saskatchewan hospital.

The organization, which represents 74 First Nations in the province, said in a release Friday that it has received a number of calls about the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert.

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Federation Vice-Chief David Pratt said he was disturbed and alarmed to receive a complaint about an 88-year-old man who was receiving medical treatment in isolation.

He said the man, who doesn't speak any English, wasn't given any support.

Pratt said another elderly woman's family has complained about rude and unprofessional treatment by nurses.

He said elderly patients need the help of translators and patient support services to help them understand what is happening to them and what type of care they are receiving.

"These are our elders and they deserve the utmost respect and fair treatment by all doctors and staff," federation Chief Bobby Cameron said in the release.

"We are calling on the province to step in and help these families and do something about all of the complaints that come in regarding First Nations patients at this hospital."

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said in a release later Friday that it is committed to providing the best possible care and is always concerned when they hear complaints.

"We are aware of some of these concerns, and for those raised directly to us, we have reached out to ensure the patient has the supports they require," said Andrew McLetchie, the authority's vice-president for Integrated Northern Health.

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," added McLetchie.

"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.

"If there are any barriers to accessing these services, we encourage patients and families to access the SHA First Nations and Metis 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.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2021.

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