Seniors’ home serves up spaghettios

Bonnie Belec
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Son of Hoyles Escasoni resident concerned by food, care quality

Spaghettios isn’t just for kids anymore.    
The childhood staple has made its way onto the menu of at least one long-term care facility in St. John’s.

Elizabeth Kavanagh has a meal of spaghettios at the Hoyles Escasoni seniors’ home recently. — Submitted photo

Ken Kavanagh’s 84-year-old mother, Elizabeth, is a resident of Hoyles Escasoni. He told The Telegram Friday he couldn’t believe she was actually fed the canned food as a meal until he saw it with his own eyes.

“Here’s all these concerns about salt content. I wouldn’t feed canned spaghettios to my kids, let alone seniors who are constantly worrying about high salt content,” he said.

“But it’s not just about the food. That was something else that came up yesterday, when another family member was there and noticed they were being fed spaghettios,” Kavanagh said.

The eldest of 14 children, he said it was hearing Health Minister Susan Sullivan on the news Thursday talking about how Eastern Health is saving money through a series of initiatives while not affecting patient care that got his emotions stirred up.

“That is absolute bull,” he said. “With all due respect to her, the talk about this implementation of policies that have saved grandiose amount of dollars and have been put through seamlessly — she’s out of touch. I can vouch that it is affecting patient care and I’m only seeing two or three things,” he said.

Eastern Health has saved more than $22 million in the first quarter of the 2013-14 fiscal year (to June 30, 2013) through operational improvement initiatives and its efforts will be followed by the other regional health authorities in the province — Central Health, Western Health and Labrador-Grenfell Health, Sullivan announced Thursday.

She told The Telegram Friday afternoon, however, that has nothing to do with complaints about the food and patient care.

“My concern is there seems to be accusations that this was tied to announcements we made about the operational improvement process yesterday and I can assure you they are not, and this really and truly has nothing to do with the improvement plans whatsoever,” Sullivan said.

“So because these two issues came to light yesterday people are drawing the line from one to the other and in fact there is no connection,” she said.

Kavanagh said last week he was on his way out of town and dropped in to see his mother before he left. He said the place looked like a ghost town.

He said it was around 11 a.m. and 70 to 80 per cent of the residents were still in bed, including his mother.

“My sister went in 11:45 and our mother was finally out of bed,” Kavanagh said.

“I want to make this very clear, that this is by no means a reprimand of the staff —  this is hard work that they do, and very important work — this is about the impact of policy. Some type of policy of no replacements when a person calls in sick so they were short staffed,” he said.

Kavanagh said he’s often visited his mother in the morning and sometimes the residents are up and staff are running around, but other times they’re not taken out of bed after being put to bed at 8 p.m. at night, bathed or dressed.

“So yeah they’re saving some money, but this is starting to border on maltreatment. My mom and other residents are being mistreated and somebody has to take responsibility for it,” he said.

Kavanagh said the decision to put his mother in long-term care was a heart-wrenching one, but the family agreed she needed special care.

“People refer to dementia as a long goodbye,” he said. “It’s hard enough for a family to go through, to walk in to see mom sometimes and not be sure if she knows you, but to see her in the condition she’s in now is absolutely horrendous and it is not fair,” he said.

Kavanagh and his family are so upset about the conditions at Hoyles Escasoni he said he called Sullivan’s office Friday morning.

He said he didn’t speak to her, but would love the chance to.

“I’m willing to go meet with her and I challenge her to explain to me why my mother would be in bed at quarter to 12 on more than one occasion, and I won’t describe the condition I found her in out of respect for my mother,” he said.

When asked about the Kavanagh’s concerns regarding staffing and the amount of time his mother has been left in bed, Sullivan said each health authority has its own policies on staffing as well as menu plans, but she was told Eastern Health is having some recruitment issues.

“The information I found is they have been experiencing challenges recently in terms of requisite numbers of staff on a shift and that is due to leave and some recruitment issues as well,” said the Health minister.

“Eastern Health has told me they are working at trying to resolve that issue,” Sullivan said.

Kavanagh said he understands the homes and government have staffing issues to deal with, but it shouldn’t be on the backs of residents.

“What about dignity and respect? These are the some of the most vulnerable people in our society and government is instituting a policy to save money. If this is the affect of policy then someone has to rewrite the policy and look at what is being implemented,” he said.

Kavanagh said its time for the minister and government to have a look at their policies and the people they are writing the policies for.

“It’s time to get down to Earth and see on the ground how some of these policies are impacting patient care. They are not seamless. They are not without impact. They are hurting people and it’s not fair. It’s not just my mom, that’s my main concern, but there are other peoples’ moms there, too, and dads. She’s got to visit some of these places and see how her department and government policies are really and truly impacting people,” he said.

Regarding the choice of food long-term care facilities provide for residents, Sullivan said again, each health authority has its own policies, however they all follow Canada’s Food Guide.

She said she was told Hoyles Escasoni operates on a three-week menu plan with a main meal provided at lunch and a lighter fare for supper with two choices for all diet types. She said modifications are made regularly based on preference as well as seasonal variations.

Sullivan said on the day in question spaghettios was the second choice while soup and sandwich was the main.

Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski said the authority does hear concerns periodically from residents and/or their family members about the level of care provided and the quality of food.

“The level of care provided to residents in long-term care facilities is based on national standards of nursing care,” she said in a news release. “However, we have been experiencing a challenge recently in ensuring that we do have the required number of staff on a shift due to leave and recruitment issues which we are trying to address.”

Kaminski said when the menu plan is developed, the whole daily menu is considered to ensure nutritional value.

 “All complaints are responded to on an individual basis and Eastern Health does make every effort, especially with our long-term care residents, to ensure the inclusion of family members in the care being provided,” she said.

“Our long-term care facilities are our residents home and we want to ensure they receive safe and quality care and are comfortable. We work with the family to address their concerns.”

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Glenn B
    October 09, 2013 - 18:07

    This is Totally DISGUSTING!!!! SHAME on you~

  • Robyn
    October 07, 2013 - 11:52

    This is ridiculous and the Hoyles home staff should be ashamed of themselves....I haven't heard anything good from anyones elderly parents and grandparents that have had to spend time frightening for all of us that the time may come that we end up somewhere like that and treated so poorly, food is just the beginning of the lack of care at this should be condemned.

  • Paul Greene
    October 07, 2013 - 10:57

    Spaghettios are the dietary equivalent of Dog Food. If people choose to eat this, that's their choice, but my mother, and many more like her, would never eat this stuff. Dietician? What's the basis for ordering a case of spaghettios to feed senior citizens?

  • just me
    October 07, 2013 - 10:44

    A few years ago my grandmother was in one of these "homes" as she developped an illness that didn't allow her to stay in her own home and required full time care that her family was not in a position to do. There were a few incidents that I can recall that were horrendous that I won't go into here that we, the family witnessed that made me dread getting old but there were some nurses/assistants that were excellent as well. But... in saying that to serve spaghettio's is just outrageous considering the amount of $$ that is taken from the person requiring the care! Hopefully more people speaking out about this will change things!

  • AA
    October 07, 2013 - 10:19

    It is disturbing to read: - that a family's concerns are labeled as "accusations". - that gov't has already saved $22M in operational improvements in the first quarter of this year, with more coming and brags it has not affected services or facilities under Eastern Health. - that the Minister is unwilling to hear the concerns from the end users who see their family member affected by these cuts she calls efficiencies and benchmarking.... where does she get her information that there has been no affect on programs or services.... from the people who want to continue to earn a paycheck! - the issues have very little to do with the serving of spagettios... the real story is the policy to not cover of staff shortages. If you complained to staff one on one, they would be the first to say family needs to fight for change as their hands are tied...

  • CS
    October 07, 2013 - 09:34

    The picture is a tangible image of what goes on in LTC facilities. Staff shortages and resulting situations are much harder for the public to grasp unless they experience it first hand. The picture should be seen as symbolizing the apathy of government policy and the way our seniors and those most vulnerable in LTC are being treated.

  • spag.
    October 07, 2013 - 09:10

    eastern health be ashamed.leaving a living person in bed for as long as 14-16 hours..shame

  • Donna Tabbiner
    October 07, 2013 - 09:00

    SHAME! SHAME ! on all of those responsible!

  • GC
    October 07, 2013 - 07:03

    I am 31 years old and I like Spaghettios. is that wrong?

    • CS
      October 07, 2013 - 09:13

      The difference is that it your choice to choose. While serving spagettios to a senior is appalling, its the shortages of staff in these LTC facilities. The picture is a tangible image of what goes on in LTC facilities. Staff shortages and resulting situations are much harder for the public to grasp unless they experience it first hand. The picture should be seen as symbolizing the apathy of government policy and they way our seniors and those most vulnerable in LTC are being treated.

  • Jellybean
    October 07, 2013 - 04:24

    What I hate about this article is that nobody considers what a senior may have had to eat if they were able bodied and living at home. Sure they get canned spaghetti o's once every three week rotation! But who eats guilt free foods everyday of their lives? Day in day out? I'd like to see a household that cooks 3 elaborate, extremely healthy meals a day. Working in a nursing home (as a cook) I can honestly say that some residents look forward to tin spaghetti day! Sure it may be high in sodium but when you have it once a month it's not doing obscene amounts of harm. Each patient is assessed individually by a nutritionist. If they are a cardiac patient or have other ailments that require a low sodium diet they most certainly would not receive canned spaghetti. Another point that is not considered, finicky eaters! We have residents who would go for days refusing to eat. But when faced with a can of spaghetti o's they eat the whole meal. We try to create a food environment that resembles "home" to these residents and everyone is guilty of eating something once a month, are they not? If a residents family member does not want their mother/father eating it, most facilities are more than accommodating and will substitute for something else. Furthermore, spaghetti Os have been I. The menu in nursing homes since I began working in one and most likely were served before my arrival 6 years ago. It's not so much about the money saving.

    • CS
      October 07, 2013 - 09:52

      You miss the point of the article... understaffing and if you asked any staff member one on one about this they will say its up to family to make a difference as their hands are tied. Government is not interested in hearing what is happening in these homes and rather get their feedback from paid employees who in my opinion are afraid to lose their job should they speak out.

    • J ean
      October 07, 2013 - 10:13

      I will be 80 years old next year and yes spaghetti '0' are salty but what a beautiful taste I don't have them often but when I do I love them, of course I love fatty food too, but so what I'm almost 80 I eat what I want when I want, I swim laps every day for 1 hour at 7am 5 days a week, God is good.

    • daughterofresident
      October 07, 2013 - 12:49

      I have to agree with Jellybean, serving spagettio's is not the issue. I too know that some of the resident's actually request this and look forward to it. My mother has me bring her in cans of Vienna Sausages (gross) but she likes them. The food is the least of the problems with LTC. I find the kitchen staff to be very accomodating! If my mother asks for a tomato sandwich, she gets it. If I go down to the kitchen to get something other than what was served, if they have it, she gets it. Staffing is one of the biggest issues at Hoyles-Escasoni. I think all the people in power should either have to work there on shift for a week or put their parent in there and see how they would feel then!! My mother had a stroke and believe me, she is not in there by choice!

  • Marshall Art
    October 07, 2013 - 00:17

    Yum yum, spaghtettios. Susan Sullivan and Vicki Kaminski have no problem with elderly people being fed this stuff. Think either of these two have ever scarfed down a can of spaghettios ?. Yeah, right.

  • Robert.C
    October 06, 2013 - 22:48

    Nutrition Facts Amount Per Serving1 cup Calories170 Fat Calories10 Total Fat1g Sat. Fat0.5g Trans Fat0g Cholesterol5mg Sodium600mg Total Carb.35g Dietary Fiber3g Sugars 11g Protein 5g Potassium570mg Food Group Components Veg Cups 1/2 cup % Daily Values Vitamin A10% Vitamin C0% Calcium2% Iron10%

  • Denise
    October 06, 2013 - 22:25

    I am completely appalled that our seniors have to put up with this. They worked hard all of their lives, for what! Spagettios and white bakers bread with zero nutritional value. Where are the fruits and vegetables, protein, dairy? This is a direct quote from Hoyles-Escasoni Philosophy, "Can expect to have adequate and nutritional meals and snacks appropriate to the special needs of residents"...really! I saw Ms. Vickie eating at a very high end restaurant several months ago, She was NOT eating spagettios! Shame on you and shame on Susan Sullivan. Remember, ladies, if you're lucky enough to live long enough, you too can eat spagettios and white bread.

  • Ann O'Driscoll
    October 06, 2013 - 22:17

    My. Mother has been living at the Hoyles home for five years. She is very well cared for an I believe the staff should be given credit for their hard work and dedication. Mom has 24 hour medical care. Her daily care is taken care of trained and caring staff who treat her with respect and affection. She is served nutritious and tasty meals, that are cooked inhouse. Housekeeping staff are constantly cleaning. The rooms and floors. There are plenty of recreational activities such as music events, bingo,darts,trivia,prayer services. PLUS Mom has a lot of people in her world. All the staff know her and speak to her as they go about their work. She's as well looked after, comfortable and happy as she can be. Yes, it is hard to see a loved one requiring long term care but it is a comfort to know that she is well cared for by professional and loving staff.

  • Jenn Deon
    October 06, 2013 - 21:37

    Our health care system needs more money in order to deliver long-term care with dignity and respect. This article illustrates just one example of what happens when there is not enough staff, not enough resources to care humanely for our sick and/or elderly in need. If you agree - and are willing to put your tax dollars there - please, please demand it from our government

  • I H J
    October 06, 2013 - 21:33

    What happened to the Canada Food Guide? Is this what the Seniors are paying their monies for? I should think Our Seniors deserve better treatment than this.....If it were my mom in a home & being server spaghettios... I would be surprised to see what's on the menu when I wound be away when she is being feed...Proof here where the government is going to save money....Shame!!

  • Trisha
    October 06, 2013 - 20:51

    I seen something at a long term care home that always stuck in my mind. It wasn't this LTC home mentioned but I guess alot are the same. Staff should be monitored alot more than they are. Sometimes it is the staff. I saw a nurse sitting down feeding a resident pancacks. She had a flu and kept coughing in her hands. Between the coughs she was tearing up the pancakes with her hands and feeding it to this poor old lady with dementia. I don't think I have to go on, you all get the picture of how wrong this was on many levels!

  • Just my two cents
    October 06, 2013 - 20:20

    Inmates eating three course meals, Seniors eating spaghetti O's.

  • concerned
    October 06, 2013 - 20:09

    I spent summers with my grandparents. Many meals were home cooked, and delicious. But there were many meals which consisted of KD, Kam, picnic ham, peanut butter sandwhiches, or hot dogs. I do not believe a scattered meal like this is outwidth the menu of most people. If these seniors were living on their own they would be eating the canned food regularly. Do not kid yourself otherwise. I see nothing wrong with a modest second choice (the main menu item that days was a cooked meal). For those who write with parents in the home, do you honestly believe you would not give them a can of Irish Stew once every couple of weeks. How about Farmers meat balls, or vienna sausages. Most people over 60 were raised on this type of food. There are not many 80 year old Newfoundlanders who eat pomergerants and star fruit. Most still believe fresh tomatoes come in plastic wrap. My grandfather still prefers canned mushrooms to the fresh variety.

  • not the only home that serves it
    October 06, 2013 - 20:01

    This is not the only home in the st.john's area that serves this. I worked in two in the paradise area & that's what they were serving one day for lunch with toast. Most of the seniors turned their noses up at it , which I would have as well. I guess its a cheap meal but they are paying good money to live in some of those places & that's what they get fed for lunch. My son is 3 & he will not eat that, I was surprised when I seen it being put on plates.

  • Paul
    October 06, 2013 - 19:36

    I am not trying to down play this story but the residents are getting up throughout the day. My father has been in hospital for almost two months now waiting for a nursing home bed. They do not get him up out of his bed at all. The only time he gets up is when myself or my sister visits after we get off work and gets him up. We would stay more with him but we have to work to help support our families and it is taking a great toll on us and him. He is stuck in bed all day and now been required to wear a diaper because they might not be able to help him to the bathroom. His dignity is getting taken from him in a hospital.

  • Heather Griffin
    October 06, 2013 - 19:07

    It's very sad to say that my Mom, who passed away this past April at the age of 92, would have been happy to have Spaghettios for lunch over some of the meals she was served at Chancellor Park. Many meals she made do with a slice of toast because the cooking was so bad. I think Eastern Health needs to plant an undercover observer at some of these nursing homes to see how they really treat people living there.

  • Heather Griffin
    October 06, 2013 - 19:07

    It's very sad to say that my Mom, who passed away this past April at the age of 92, would have been happy to have Spaghettios for lunch over some of the meals she was served at Chancellor Park. Many meals she made do with a slice of toast because the cooking was so bad. I think Eastern Health needs to plant an undercover observer at some of these nursing homes to see how they really treat people living there.

    • josiegulliver
      October 07, 2013 - 11:11

      Yes, very much so need a undercover observer or a separate committee set up by the public to lobby for much needed care in these homes. The SPCA gets more media attention for the care of animals than do our most vunerable. You would be hard pressed to see a staff member around between the hours of 7 pm to 8:30, sometimes longer. For those who think otherwise that there is no neglect in senior homes, than, they must be people who do not visit these homes regularly.

  • Kyle
    October 06, 2013 - 18:38

    I have worked in LTC for the past few years both here on the island and in Nova Scotia I know for a fact that the menu's in our LTC facilities follow a daily canada's food guide in whole theses resident get feed good meals from jiggs dinner to turkey and roast beef. They get offered first choice second choice or if you dont like that the food service staff would ask them what else they want if it would be a salad or soup and a sandwich. and yes there is some seniors that will request to have a plate of spaghettios so as it states in the article that this lady got the spaghettios she must have been ask or maybe she did not like the first choice there are also some seniors that would like to have tea and toast for supper would that make the front page news as well? There has to be more to this story maybe the cooks were working short maybe there was something wrong with what was on the menu for second choice.

    • AA
      October 07, 2013 - 10:26

      This lady has never been given a choice of food... Her communication is limited, her mobility is limited and her family are there every single day for meals...

  • Just my two cents
    October 06, 2013 - 18:07

    Inmates eating three course meals, Seniors eating spaghetti O's.

  • Rockey Glenn
    Rockey Glenn
    October 06, 2013 - 16:40

    And food guide standards did they use to come up with such a menu?

  • Marion Noftall
    October 06, 2013 - 16:23

    Hello, you can not provide quality care if you don't have the staff to provide the quality care and I would venture to guess that for most, if not all of these facilities, it's all about $. The daily staffing is not adequate for the need and staff/patient or staff/resident ratios are toooo high. Staff in most facilities are spread too thin.

  • John
    October 06, 2013 - 16:01

    But folks, remember now, the next time you hear Dunderdale and Sullivan say "we are booming," you know the real truth!

  • Gander Legs
    October 06, 2013 - 15:03

    Spagettios? LUXURY! Jeez, many countries just let their old people die, as a cost-saving measure. However, as a senior citizen myself, I'm hoping Dunderdale doesn't read the Comment section of the Telegram.

  • Millie Parsons
    October 06, 2013 - 15:00

    I worked as an RN in Ontario and was appalled that there was just one shower per week..ration on they sat in a wet diaper for hours..I spoke out to those in authority and said "Is this what you want for your future?" I was not too they have activities for these seniors?

  • jeffer
    October 06, 2013 - 14:33

    Another story totally blown out of proportion. A lot of elderly patients prefer/require soft foods in bite size portions. They'd eat it at home, what's the issue with eating it in a long term care facility? It's also no coincidence that the complainers are, more often than not, people who screwed the system their entire lives and never put in an honest day's work. Maybe Mr. Kavanagh should take his mother under his own care and feed her rack of lamb ever day.

    • Response to Jeffer
      October 07, 2013 - 11:16

      If ignorance is bliss then you must be a very happy individual.

    • Bev
      October 07, 2013 - 14:02

      I know Mr. Kavanagh personally and he put in 30 years of honest work as a high school teacher and not only has he never "screwed the system" as you put it, he has spent years speaking out on issues and affecting positive change in his community and for those more vulnerable in our society. It seems that some have only read the headline of this article and not the core of the article itself, as I believe Mr. Kavanagh was criticising the policy that refuses to call in a replacement worker when only one person has phoned in sick leaving the home short staffed. As a result, residents like his Mother who are not able to dress and bath themselves, but who are normally "up and about" each day are left in bed for 12-13 hours. It is this policy that seems to have been the main focus of the article, not Spaghettios. That being said, there is no "second choice" offered to residents. They are handed a tray with their name on it and as numerous patients are non-verbal or have difficulty communicating, they are not able to ask for something else. Many residents have soft food requirements which is why the food on those trays is mashed or pureed. It does not need to be a meal of Spaghettios and white bread with no serving of vegetables or fruit. It just seems odd that some commenters have chosen to focus on only that aspect of the article when there are other more serious issues brought out here.

  • Pensioner
    October 06, 2013 - 14:11

    Most of the money goes to the top managers salaries. Only families and the hands on staff care about seniors. I think Dave is right, we don't matter to this government. Two terms and they get a big pension while they cut and slash then talk about getting out of paying others their pensions. And pensioners, they might not touch what you get now to keep you quiet but what about later. Not like they haven't make mistakes/miscalculations before, right. Is this what the oil money and cost of Muskrat Falls is doing? Well it sure isn't working for the average person? No more two terms in, one is more than enough.

  • Get better care here
    October 06, 2013 - 12:46

    Perhaps in order to get better meals, full time staff that are there 24 -7, free cable TV , outdoor exercise, up and out of bed by 8 AM, three hot meals a day plus snacks, free medication and dental care, warm dry facilities, free clothing and cleaning!! Sound good ? All that one has to do is put all our seniors in JAIL. Then we could put the law breakers in nursing homes, leave them in wet dirty clothing in bed, make them PAY for any extras including TV, feed them the spaghettios and kraft dinner everyday. Our ill seniors, our parents and grandparents and one day we taxpayers should demand and get at the very least the care and attention and MONEY that is spent on inmates. Staff in these facilities work very hard as do the folks that care for children and yet earn among the lowest wages of any group. How can we as a society, pay and overwork the people who take care of our most vulnerable citizens - kids and seniors? IF nothing else we should get a little selfish and make sure these messes are cleaned up BEFORE WE END UP THERE OURSELVES. Ask the Minister if she wants to spend the last 4 or 5 years of her life like that - may be an idea to get several politicians to stay in a home for a week right NOW - live the life and see if it suits them. s

  • AA
    October 06, 2013 - 12:30

    While the story is a personal account of one family's experience, the key issue here is government policy does affect the end users some of whom are the most vunerable in our society. Just like the serving of spagettios to an ill senior is the opener to this story, the larger issue is the treatment and acceptance of such standards who are the most vulnerable in our society. I challenge the reader to visit one of these government funded long term care facilities. Decisions based on reduced funding have not been seamless. They have affected the basic care and basic needs of residents who for the most part have no voice, no advocate other than those whose family speak on thier behalf.

  • Cat
    October 06, 2013 - 11:29

    A couple of years ago I was at a local grocery store and there was an elderly couple around late 70's in the aisle and the lady was asking her husband what he wanted for supper - he said spaghettios and she told him not to be so foolish - but hey if at that age you want spaghettios then have them - if my husband wants that at that age - (Hopefully we will still be around) I will gladly open the can and warm them up for him!

  • Sonia
    October 06, 2013 - 10:01

    That's awful. The elderly are the most vulnerable in our society and have contributed so much during their lifetime. . They should be given the best. . What about the poor people who don't have family to look in on them and see to their care??? I shudder to think about it.

  • Judy Ryan
    October 06, 2013 - 09:38

    This is sad! I can't believe this is what our seniors are being fed. Come on people, wake up. I'm a senior and if that is ever put in front of me, it would be going back, (dinner or supper). Can't you cook a few vegetables with a bit of meat or fish??? A casserole? Cabbage rolls? A stew? It's not that difficult. The desert didn't look too appetizing either. Maybe a glass of water and a cup of tea would have been nice??? Homemade bread wouldn't go astray either. Don't you have cooks in the kitchen??? It's about time someone stepped in here.....

  • t.c
    October 06, 2013 - 09:37

    this government has got to go.The people that have served us trough all the years of there lives being treated like this,come on get real.Cutting 80+ million from health care and saying this will not hurt the get real.i think this government has no sence of direction anymore.Feed them can food.

  • Concerned1
    October 06, 2013 - 00:11

    Don't forget..the more they save, the bigger the bonus'...

  • Elaine
    October 05, 2013 - 22:33

    This is a sad state of affairs. Some people are paying a hefty amount for their loved ones to live there. Elder abuse , it is, and Eastern Health CEO Vickie Kaminski really doesn't. These people in charge should remember that they could possibly be in the position of the resident one day. Food...pardon the pun....for thought.

  • Moses Ingram
    October 05, 2013 - 18:17

    I am 74 years old and thankfully still in good health and living in my own home. I know however that many people my age and younger are not as fortunate. I also realize that I will likely be living in a senior’s home one day. This article is very disturbing and it is very clear that more and not less money needs to be spent on health care. Residents need good wholesome meals and not food from a can. We also need not only more workers in these homes but we need caring, compassionate people who are not just there for a pay check. We have all heard stories of places where patients have been refused a drink of water at night for fear that they might wet the bed. I know that the work is very demanding and I’m sure that most of the workers are giving the best care that they can. My thought is that should the government decide to increase the patient–staff ratio at some time in the future, and I hope that this happens sooner, rather than later, care should be taken in hiring the right people.

  • This food
    October 05, 2013 - 17:37

    This food is disgusting. Shame on the home for serving this crap. I feed my dog better.

  • Cynthia
    October 05, 2013 - 16:43

    Shame on you Eastern Health! I dare Susan Sullivan to try the awesome Hoyles Escasoni diet for three weeks and see how much she thinks it's great after that! Sub-standard care for people who can't fight back is disgusting! Shame! Shame! Shame!

  • Tracy Fry
    October 05, 2013 - 16:32

    This is shameful treatment of our elderly! Saving money at the expense of our aging parents well being is not acceptable- I'm certain there are areas outside of health care (and education, might I add) where cuts can be made...Ministers salaries and expense accounts might be an area in which to begin.

  • Tracy Fry
    October 05, 2013 - 16:31

    This is shameful treatment of our elderly! Saving money at the expense of our aging parents well being is not acceptable- I'm certain there are areas outside of health care (and education, might I add) where cuts can be made...Ministers salaries and expense accounts might be an area in which to begin.

  • Shirley putt
    October 05, 2013 - 16:25

    well how many staff is needed to open a can of spaghettios

  • W Bagg
    October 05, 2013 - 16:24

    Who ever made the decision to put Spaghettios on the menu should be fired no questions asked or explanation needed. When you have lived 80 yrs and are in failing health, the only thing that you can look forward to is a good meal, you can't get around, you can't exercise, all you got left is eating and sleeping. All you want is a decent meal

  • newfie away
    October 05, 2013 - 15:46

    lets see now, you feed this slop/dog food to seniors to eat and we have a bunch of useless overpayed politicians wine/dining on my dime. something wrong with that picture. what a national disgrace !

  • Colin
    October 05, 2013 - 15:34

    This is absolutely disgusting! Spaghettios for supper and having to wait until almost lunchtime to be clothed and bathed! Where is the dignity in that? Where is the respect? I cannot believe there is actually a policy that disallows calling in a replacement staff member after another staff member has called in sick! Come on Ms. Kiminski.........stop trying to defend this obvious disrespect of our precious seniors and STEP UP!

  • Amanda Morris
    October 05, 2013 - 15:23

    Thank you to my uncle Ken for shedding light on how my grandmother - and plenty of others' grandmothers and grandfathers - are being affected by funding cuts, staff shortages and policy changes. These residents are paying to be respected and cared for, not to be ignored, neglected and improperly fed.

  • Christina
    October 05, 2013 - 14:57

    My Mother was a resident of Hoyles Escasoni before her passing.It is shameful the quality of food that is given to the residents.The H/E complex has its own kitchen but the food was not prepared well.Try eating boiled beans with cut-up wieners,pancakes with so much syrup you could drink them or minced up sausage with an inch of grease on the plate.Maybe the answer is to close the kitchen and have the meals come from the central kitchen like the hospitals.It's sad to watch these people waste away in their final years.

  • alice kavanagh
    October 05, 2013 - 14:41

    how is 3/4 of a cup of Spaghetti o's at 880 mg of sodium a healthy option for a anyone let alone a stroke victim?

  • Corporate Psycho
    October 05, 2013 - 14:39

    Sullivan should resign.

  • Marshall Art
    October 05, 2013 - 14:14

    Susan Sullivan is crowing about how Eastern Health is saving money without affecting patient care ? Feeding elderly people with food laced with salt is considered caring for these people ? You can be darn sure she or Vicki Kaminski can't remember the last time they each scarfed down a can of spaghettios. They're smart enough to stay away from that garbage but have no problem feeding it to the elderly.

  • Paul
    October 05, 2013 - 13:48

    Not to down play this story but at least your loved ones are getting up. My father has been in the hospital for over 2 months waiting for placement in a nursing home. They don't get him out of bed at all and he is not the only one waiting for placement in the hospital for months. As a family we are discussed with this situation and treatment. My father is still very much with it and now he wears a diaper because because they can't guarantee they can bathroom him. This is a giant blow to my proud father. Unfortunately myself and my sister have to work to provide for our families but one of us are always with him when we are not working.

  • Angie
    October 05, 2013 - 13:37

    I tried to explain that this stuff happens to my grandmother. Older residents please take all your money and put in a safety deposit box, don't give it to government. Have two family members or close friends monitor this for you. Then if you end up in a place like this, a hot meal service could be arranged from that money. At least they would have that, I feel for our older people. Everyone's Nan's and Pop's who taught us how to fish, bake bread, etc. ending up here is criminal. Sad. This world is so full of greed and the very ones (government officials) supposed to be looking after our well being are the ones squandering our money. Take away their inflated salary's and give them spaghettios.

  • Jenna
    October 05, 2013 - 13:23

    Just another indication of how the health care system stinks....Heard of another patient just this past week stuck in emergency for a day and a 1/2, waiting on a bed!! gross. This past week there was an article in the CBC about a group protesting government to defund abortions because the money is needed elsewhere.... I believe it.

  • Rockey
    October 05, 2013 - 12:29

    Sounds like a contradiction to me or just plain old quilt: “The level of care provided to residents in long-term care facilities is based on national standards of nursing care,” she said in a news release. “However, we have been experiencing a challenge recently in ensuring that we do have the required number of staff on a shift due to leave and recruitment issues which we are trying to address.”

  • Dissappointed in our Government again!
    October 05, 2013 - 12:27

    When you cut back money you cut back on service, $22.7-million worth! Our people deserve so much more!

  • Gabriel Ryan
    October 05, 2013 - 12:20

    As a child of an aging parent suffering dementia, I can empathize with the challenges and anguish facing the Kavanagh family. In many eastern and native societies, elders are treated with respect and are, in fact, honoured for their contributions to their respective communities. Sadly, in an ever-increasing secular world, western societies seem content to pay simple lip service to the needs of the very people who breathed life into us all, those who have faced a Great Depression, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms in world wars and other conflicts. It is incumbent upon all of us to advocate for our parents and grandparents for, in the very least, if we are fortunate, we will soon be in their shoes. My parents made so many sacrifices for the lives their children have been fortunate enough to lead and the very least we should all do for all of our parents and grandparents is to ensure that their declining years are made as comfortable as possible and that they are nourished with good, live food rather than processed or canned foods with little or no nutritional value. Surely, in the presence of such riches around us, we can do something good to ensure we all have bright futures and and a sensible modicum of comfort as we live out the remainder of our lives.

  • EDfromRED
    October 05, 2013 - 12:13

    Disgusting! The responses of the Heath Authorities and Government makes it sound like their talking about cattle not human beings. My dog and cat get fed better food.

  • C
    October 05, 2013 - 12:04

    What is so upsetting about this article is the Ministers view and play on words... 1) These are a family's concerns that have been documented from daily visits 7 days a week since their mother was placed in that home BUT the Minister has characterized them as "accusations"! 2) The Minister has stated that Government has saved $22M in operational improvements already in the first quarter of this year, yet the Minister also says the accusations raised have nothing to do with the recent plans announced. 3) If the Minister is unwilling to hear from the end user of what these changes have done, where does she get her information regarding "no affect on programs or services"? 4) The concerns raised did not just come to light yesterday... they have been raised on numerous occasions with the LTC facility and Eastern Health. But it was only when the Minister announced on October 3rd that the changes and savings have been taking place seamlessly that has forced the family to bring it to the media. To allow the announcement to go unchallenged would be a further injustice to their mother and those who cannot advocate for themselves against these changes.

  • D. Cahill
    October 05, 2013 - 11:56

    So may issues here!!!!! Shameful! Good for you for speaking your mind and truth, Mr.K!!!! This is a real issue for so many people....let us not be quiet any longer! We are told to honor our parents.

  • r. stagg
    October 05, 2013 - 11:54

    over this last several years we have experienced the horrible conditions at care homes; and the way relatives have been treated.all departments of front line workers at health care are under staffed and there is no way in hell that our seniors in their final years should have to be treated this way. but yet mrs.sullivan and her so called government want to keep cutting health care instead of supplying more help. maybe mrs. Sullivan should spend couple months in a long care home in dirty wet diapers; and in bed most of the day; and experience all the conditions there;then maybe she would have a different attitude towards it all.

  • Edmund
    October 05, 2013 - 11:54

    It must be a slow news day on Bell Island and the Ferry must be working. Now Mr. Kavanagh has set his sights on long term care facilities so he can keep his name out in the public to get ready for the next election with some FREE advertising. I find it dispicable that he (a known social and political activist who has run unsucessfully for the NDP) do this at the expense of the staff and residents of Hoyles Escasoni Complex. My father (deceased) was a resident at this same facility, recently, for 2 years and now we have another family member there as a resident (by our choice) because of the great care that my father received. This care was /is not simply the excellent day to day care that they and all the residents that we see (we had / have a family member visit them every day for the past 3 years ) but also the excellent quality of the food that is served every day. While I will agree that spagettios would not be a good choice to be served on a regular basis it must be pointed out that we have never seen this pasta in sauce served in our 3 years of being there. To the contrary, all the meals that we saw, most home cooked meals daily in their own kitchen, would be welcome on my table any time. Like the healthy choices and variety of breakfasts, sandwiches and home made soups, salads, deserts and fresh cooked fish, beef, pork and vegatables that are served to the residents every day for lunch and supper. For Mr. Kavanagh to hang this facility, Eastern Health and the staff out for ridicule like this, for one meal, is nothing short of ignorance and self serving to get attention and FREE publicity for himself and a cheap way to get his name out in public. There are more constructive ways to express a concern over a meal that he does not think worthy of eating besides blowing it out of proportion in the daily paper and radio broadcasts all over the province, like speaking with the home management or the floor supervisors. Did he ever stop and think that this was a meal that some (even our seniors) actually enjoy (I and many others have had it many times...makes a great trail meal when big game hunting or fishing as it is a quick source of energy). Also, for Mr. Kavanagh to critize staff for not having all the residents up and about at 11am is not fair. It is suggested to families by the staff and administration at the complex at time of admission that visitations before noon are not convenient for the residents or staff as the morning is the busiest time for washing, dressing, feeding, medications and physican visits and visitors are simply in the way of the staff doing their jobs effectively and efficiently. I suggest that Mr. Kavanagh find something else to belly ache about as our long term care seniors have a hard enough time without him trying to tell the health care facilities how to do their jobs and what to feed them. It is widely know that if his mother has any special dietary requirements all he has to do us ask and the facility will be more than happy to oblige. This should not be a political football for Kavanagh to receive public recognition especially when most families have had such excellent experiences with the level of care and meals that this facility provides. After 3 consecutive years of experience visiting and seeing what happens with our own family members who we love very much I feel my many positive experiences far out weigh the single one of Mr. Kavanagh and now the general public has an opportunity to make an informed opinion about this matter without any political overtones and aspirations.

  • Concerned
    October 05, 2013 - 11:43

    Couldn't be more disgusted by this. My 1 year old doesn't get fed spaghettios, if she were to ask for it sure but to be served something with little nutritional value is just awful! Wake up people.

  • Chris Woolridge
    October 05, 2013 - 10:33

    My Mom walked in Hoyles Home and in 6 months she broke TWO hips. The Dog pound takes care the the animals better than this dump. They all need to be held accountable.

  • Marilyn Skanes King
    October 05, 2013 - 10:23

    Our seniors are PAYING for FULL service at LTC facilities each month. Here's a new policy to consider : For each day there is NOT a full compliment of staff available the client bill be adjusted accordingly . I know it won't improve the health care of our seniors but it will be a pain in the pocket of our treasury board. Can you imagine the number of staff they will need to hire just to keep the books straight !!! We reap what we sow may be the order of day for our politicians .

    • sally
      October 07, 2013 - 05:52

      I think you have a very good idea there. As a nurse in LTC, we too have the same policy of working short when someone calls in sick rather than having that person be replaced so the facility can "save" money. Therefore, the PSWs are forced to work extra work with no extra pay, high stress, and it's the resident's who suffer. There are more falls, skin breakdown issues, illness and behaviours from the resident's. We've often said that the PSWs should have an increase in pay that day, and I like your idea too "of having the bill cut". Something has to be done. Reality needs to be exposed on how difficult it is to work in long term care, the abuse the staff go though, which affects our residents in the long run.

  • Rockey
    October 05, 2013 - 09:29

    Servings: 1 cup Calories 170 Sodium 600 mg Total Fat 1 g Potassium 570 mg Saturated 1 g Total Carbs 35 g Polyunsaturated 1 g Dietary Fiber 3 g Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 11 g Trans 0 g Protein 5 g Cholesterol 5 mg Vitamin A 10% Calcium 2% Vitamin C 0% Iron 10% *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

    • Siobhan
      October 07, 2013 - 08:53

      For the record, the daily reccomended value of Sodium is 1500 mg a day. And as we all know, sodium is rampant in foods in NL and very high in almost all preservatives. This one can or garbage may be low in calories and carbs (hence it fitting into Canada's food guide), but it is hitting almost half of the daily recommendation of salt.

    • Siobhan
      October 07, 2013 - 08:56

      Canada's food guide is just that, a guide. It is not a strict meal plan since it is meant to give people a rough idea the amounts of food their bodies should be taking in. It does not take into consideration sodium intake, sugar intake, proper complementary protein sources for vegetarians, total daily nutrient coverage.... it goes on. This is supposed to be step one in the meal planning process, not the end all and be all. So how many of these patients have high blood pressure? How about diabetes? Canada's food guide isn't built for them, and neither should their food plan.

  • Don II
    October 05, 2013 - 08:59

    It appears that when people grow old all of their past achievements, hard work and contributions to our society are forgotten by the newer generation. The elderly are not respected by the younger generation that now controls their fate. The very compassionate, educated and sophisticated people who competently run the Government of Newfoundland and its health care agencies just want to save tax payer money and make their bosses happy. They do not really care and will quickly justify the policy of feeding the elderly patients Spaghettios or Jello because of their delicate digestive systems, dietary restrictions or lack of sufficient teeth to properly chew solid food like steak or fish! Those people in control who are totally unconcerned about the treatment of our elderly people apparently forget the fact that one day, they will be old themselves. Like it or not, what goes around, comes around!

  • CS
    October 05, 2013 - 08:50

    Let's see... one says saving $22.7-million by reducing the number of full time equivalent positions will be achieved by working smarter within current programs and services ... BUT the other says they have challenges ensuring the required number of staff on a shift due to leave and recruitment issues... MEANWHILE residents can miss that 1 bath a week (yes 1 every 7 days); not get attended to when soiled (I'm told the adult diapers used are good for 5 hours of incontinence); have their meal tray sit at the end of their bed until staff get to them for those requiring assisted feeding... IF these were the conditions a child was subjected to I wonder if the reaction would be the same! The difference is that many of these residents, particularly those with dementia, do not have the ability to progress or learn... they are in a long process of regression to the point they will no longer walk, talk or interact with their environment or those around them. So it is they are at the mercy of those who care for them.

    • Trudy Drover
      October 07, 2013 - 09:54

      I have to agree with every word CS has said! This is happening everywhere and it is happening in the facility my partners mom, who is 86, is in. She is legally blind and has no central vision and she is suffering with dementia also. She has to have assistance with eating. With the staff short on nurses and PCA's or the assistance of her family to help feed her, her meal sits on her tray getting cold until someone gets the time to come in and help feed her! Also, the meals that are prepared for them includes canned spaghetti, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, bologna, canned sausages etc... Were is the nutrition in this? Also to comment about people having to lay in their own feces until someone gets the time to come change them is in my mind is down right degrading. I have often heard a senior calling out for sometime and I go to see if they are in trouble and when I walk down the hall you can tell what the trouble is! It is not due to the fault of the staff members, its the fault of the government and their cutbacks. How would the government who is supposedly looking out for the care of those seniors like to sit in their own feces for sometime until someone comes to change you??? If nothing is done about the problem then we face the same fate! Scary to think about. Its about time for this to change and NOW!!! Very concerned....

  • Will Cole
    October 05, 2013 - 08:37

    I doubt very much the likes of Susan Sullivan or the management at Hoyles-Escasoni dine on Spaghettios for supper. These people are beyond the pale, shame on them all.

  • Elaine
    October 05, 2013 - 08:10

    That is terrible! Who oversees these homes??? She should get in there and see what's really happening to our parents

  • RATTER 01
    October 05, 2013 - 07:57

    What happened to the Canada Food Guide? Our Seniors deserve better treatment.

    • CS
      October 05, 2013 - 16:11

      This would not be acceptable in schools why would anyone think it would be acceptable in a LTC facility.

  • Dave Adey
    October 05, 2013 - 07:27

    A penny saved is a penny for Nalcor...don't be fooled, all roads lead to Muskrat Falls. It's our tax dollars and revenues that are being spent at Muskrat Falls right now, if you think the money magically appeared or the federal government gave it to us then the slick salesmanship of the project sure took you for a ride. Jobs eliminated and services cut helps finance Muskrat Falls. it's time for the people of this province to wake up and it's time for any Tories with some integrity to clean their house.

    • Jerry Baker
      October 06, 2013 - 11:02

      well said Dave

  • daughterofresident
    October 05, 2013 - 07:23

    Sorry that should have been Mr. Kavanagh!

  • daughterofresident
    October 05, 2013 - 07:21

    My mother has been at the Escasoni for six years and I can tell you the staffing issue is NOT new or recent. I go to see my mom every day and I know what goes on. I'm not blaming the staff, for the most part they do the best they can but I can't count the number of times I've gone to take my mother out and she isn't ready because they are "short staffed", or she hasn't been washed until late morning. That's after being put to bed at 6pm the night before! Ms. Kiminski says this is their home...but they force these seniors to either quit smoking after a 50 or 60 year habit or brave the elements to get their fix. My mother doesn't smoke and thank God for that! The menu plan!! It is one of the biggest complaints I hear from residents every day! I could go on and on....I am glad that Mr. Kennedy is speaking up but if there is one thing I've learned over these past six years is that it probably won't do any good! I feel bad for residents who have no family to ensure they are properly cared for.

    • S. Penney
      October 06, 2013 - 16:34

      The above is so true. My Mom is in the Hoyles Escasoni on 3W and there are lots of times that I find her lying in dirty clothes and a dirty bed sometimes due to her upsetting drinks that was given to her to drink on her own without attendance and other times in worse situation lying in it for hours before someone notices it or else don't want to see it. I respect my Mom in every word I say...she cannot do for herself and needs Special care but there isn't enough staff to give her that Special care and cover all the patients for that wing and to give them the Special care they need. The workers that is there does their best most of the time but best isn't good enough when you have too many patients to care for and too few workers to keep a close check on them after and between the original rounds. Then it is the food problems, my Mom is supposed to be on a Special gravy, no fatty foods, no salt or very little salt, no pork, little beef only if its lean, no corn beef hash, no bologna, no salt beef, no salty hams etc...due to her health condition with gall stones and gall bladder and yes she is given all of that and more that she isn't supposed to have and what do you think...well, on her food paper is written she don't like bologna and gravy etc. I've told them a hundred times but no one listens. I'm not saying my Mom's name out of respect but I'm her daughter and only child who had to place her for better care so I thought, but no its not better care and I have lots more I could say. I respect the care workers and the nurses but there isn't enough of them. They aren't robots but they have a lot on there hands. My Mom is there since November 2010 and it hasn't gotten any better in there only what worse it has gotten. There are too many patients and not enough staff...that sounds like Eastern Health out to get every buck they can get from the overload of residents and not placing enough staff to correspond to the residents because they would have to pay out extra pay. A new facility will be opening sometime in the summer of 2014 but if its still under staffed will it be any better? Maybe my Mom may not make it to 2014, only God knows that...I have heard and believe prisoners have it much better with their televisions, games and big meals and what have you. Only wish and pray for Eastern Health to lighten up and have a heart for the elderly who cannot help themselves.