Telegram coverage misrepresents conditions, care at Hoyles-Escasoni Complex

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By Vickie Kaminski
Special to The Telegram
There has been a lot of media attention recently regarding concerns raised by family members of three residents currently living at the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex.

Eastern Health president and CEO Vickie Kaminski announced Tuesday the equivalent of approximately 550 full-time positions will be eliminated over the next two years, saving approximately $43 million. Kaminiski emphasized the positions will be cut through attrition, not layoffs, and that no one will actually lose their job. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

In these sensationalized stories, innuendo has loomed large.

Facts are often distorted and are largely unbalanced in the reports.

Unfortunately, I cannot respond to those three specific resident stories. Due to the Personal Health Information Act (PHIA), as the custodians of their information, we are unable to publicly discuss any of their information in an effort to respond to the concerns raised in the media.

I can discuss publicly what the policies, procedures and day-to-day operations of the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex entail.

Despite the fact that Eastern Health has provided information for the articles, there has not been a balanced approach to the reporting.

As such, I had asked to meet with the reporter and an editor to discuss the issue in an attempt to present a more balanced approach to the reporting. That meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday at The Telegram.

 

Meeting cancelled

However, upon reading the column by Brian Jones that morning, I decided to cancel that meeting. It was quite clear to me that no matter what I said to the reporter and editor, Eastern Health is not going to get a fair hearing on this issue.

The Telegram obviously has an agenda — and nothing I could say could sway that. I know quite well the media will always have the last word.

So to the point, let me firstly say, I have the utmost confidence and respect for all the staff who work in our long-term care facilities. They come in to work every day with the care of the resident and their family uppermost on their mind.

These residents usually stay for long periods of time and the facility becomes their home; the staff become like family. When something bad happens to one of our residents, our employees share in the grief, sadness and pain with the rest of the family members.

 

Inaccurate suggestion

So to suggest or imply that staff at Eastern Health’s long-term care facilities would wilfully allow any resident to languish in bed until his/her skin broke down into a pressure ulcer, or to slowly starve to death, or to deteriorate physically or mentally without trying everything possible to prevent it, is shameful and grossly inaccurate.

The three stories recently told are not unknown to us. We have and will continue to work with the families and those residents to deal with issues and concerns and attempt to resolve any problem.

 

Families satisfied

What hasn’t been heard are the stories of hundreds of satisfied residents and family members that we see and hear from every day.

In fact, some of them have told us they have tried to tell their stories to the media, but no one seems interested. I guess those kinds of stories don’t sell newspapers or increase ratings.

So here are some facts.

Yes, we offer spaghettios to our residents. That is a meal they can choose — once every three weeks. If they do not want that, they can choose a soup and sandwich combo or some other menu offering included in a three-week meal plan that is based on Canada’s Food Guide to ensure there is a balanced diet for our residents.

But many of our residents like canned pasta. Many of them grew old in the community eating it over toast for a meal, just like they ate bologna, canned pork and beans, and Jigg’s dinner. So to deny them the option when they are in their new home — a long-term care facility — would be unreasonable.

Our residents are bathed every day. Because of their significant mobility issues, many of them are bathed at their bedside or in their beds. Tub baths usually occur once a week. They are not left for days at a time without being bathed, as was recently suggested in the column by Brian Jones.

Unfortunately, sometimes a resident will develop a severe pressure ulcer despite our best efforts.

However, open wounds are rare and, in fact, there is only one resident at the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex at the moment with that type of pressure ulcer. These are painful, they require a lot of time and attention to get them healed and our employees work diligently to prevent these from occurring.

As I stated, these can occur despite all our best efforts and considering the medical condition of the resident. When they do occur, we work just as hard to get them healed and to relieve the resident’s pain and discomfort.

That’s not to say we don’t have issues that need to be addressed.

Currently, we do have staff challenges as a direct result of a shortage of relief/temporary call-in staff.

In a 24/7 operation, in addition to the full-time equivalent (FTE) positions, there is a requirement to have a pool of temporary relief and casual staff to support the operation when permanent staff are unavailable for a number of reasons, including annual leave, long-term leave such as maternity leave and daily sick calls.

There is no health organization anywhere that has permanent staff in place to cover off all contingencies for when staff are unavailable for work — particularly to address short-term leave such as daily sick calls.

That is why Eastern Health requires a pool of people that it can call into work — sometimes on a moment’s notice — not unlike other 24/7 health-care organizations.

We have occasions when we do not have enough relief staff to cover all the sick calls that might occur. When that happens, and employees have to work short, we re-organize the work routines for that shift.

It might mean that a resident is later getting their bath, or later getting in or out of bed. It does not mean that residents are neglected for that shift.

And we are now focused on finding a solution to our shortage of relief staff.

Occasionally, equipment like tubs break down. It can take a few days to get the equipment repaired. It doesn’t mean residents are allowed to go without personal hygiene being maintained. It means we continue with their usual bed baths until the tub is fixed.

I hope you realize I am not being defensive here. I am, however, defending the excellent care given to all our patients, clients and residents by a very dedicated and excellent staff at eastern Health.

Because of how they have been portrayed by The Telegram, I made a visit to the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex on Thursday.

I met with several small groups of frontline employees and managers. I wanted them to know that they had my support and that of the board of trustees, the executive management committee and, indeed, the entire family within Eastern Health.

I also want to express gratitude to the family members of many of our residents who are reaching out to our employees to commend them for the care they are providing to their loved one. I trust you know that this means a lot to them.

For those of you who are reading this, I would ask that you balance what you read and hear with what you know.

 

Vickie Kaminski is the president and CEO of Eastern Health.

Organizations: Hoyles-Escasoni Complex on Thursday.I, Food Guide

Geographic location: Canada, Eastern Health.Because

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Recent comments

  • Jack
    October 23, 2013 - 07:21

    I am a health care profession although not orginally from the island. I can say from experience that what Vickie Kaminski is saying is largely true. Very very rarely does a medical staff member truely go out to hurt people in malicious ways. By and large staff members are very good, however, the level of health care as a standard in NL is terrible. We are far behind the times here and the quality of that care is very evident.

  • Patricia
    October 23, 2013 - 06:52

    I have one question.Where on Canada's food guide can you find Spaggettios.??

    • Bob
      October 23, 2013 - 09:07

      Where in Canada's food guide is Salt Meat, but I don't hear people complaining about that. I have seen first hand the care that was given to my grandmother in that facility, and it was not as it is being potrtrayed in the media. All patients are treated with compassion and dignity, and the employees are not getting the credit that they deserve.

    • Jesse
      October 23, 2013 - 12:36

      Mostly carbohydrates, where it states pasta. Also, the Canada's food guide is not a good resource.

    • Joan
      October 23, 2013 - 14:06

      I have one question to you...do you only eat what is on Canada's food guide. Perhaps what's for dinner is not what you want and perhaps you may want something different. Perhaps spaggetios is what you want. You read a couple of stories in a newspaper and have decided that the food in institutions is not up to snuff. Not everyone eats according to Canada's food guide for every meal, and if you do then maybe you should go to all the homes in Nl and show them how to get everyone to eat only what is in the food guide. There are three sides to this story, his/hers and then the truth. Shame on you for adding fuel to a situation that chances are you have no clue about

  • Bonnie
    October 22, 2013 - 20:51

    What is wrong with everyone, don't they realize that there are inadequate conditions in all nursing homes not just government run. Shortage of staff is just part of the problem. My mother was in a personal care home in the city for a few years, during that time I visited on a regular basis, I saw some of her meals being served and on one occasion she was given canned beans and buttered bread. ($1,000.00 shared room) Put into bed at 8:00 and seen by a doctor on Thursday of each week. (when needed) Her last day there, she had a Heart Attack, it was on a Monday, when I arrived there I was told that they would have the doctor see Mom on Thursday. One of the workers there said your mother's problem is that she takes too much Malox, which is a Heartburn medication. I took her to the hospital and she never returned to that home, but that is an example of some of the things that goes on in those homes and how the elderly are being abused. God help those poor souls that have no one to speak up for them. To everyone who talks about how good those institutions are, just wait and see, we will all be there (unless we die first) and then you will wish you had someone to bring your living conditions to the public. Kaminski is a good politician

  • Anna
    October 22, 2013 - 14:28

    Can someone explain to me how you can take $22M out of a department and how it wouldn't affect the quality of care patients receive. I don't see anyone critizing the existing workers it is the lack of and Ms. Kaminski thinking everything is wonderful now that she has made her yearly visit.

  • California Pete from NFLD
    October 22, 2013 - 12:05

    I have never belived in judging a book by it's cover but this cover has to go. Please leave Vickie Kaminski you are a lost cause.

    • Joan
      October 23, 2013 - 14:19

      Ms. Kaminski is exactly what Eastern Health needs. She is a strong confident woman who has the difficult job of cleaning up the mess left by the previous CEO and is doing an outstanding job dealing with and addressing ongoing issues as they occur. I do not know her personally but met her when a friend was ill and she was compassionate and sensitive to the situation. If you truly feel she has to go, why don't you try her job for a week and then we will see how you feel about it. If you are not going to be a part of the solution then do not make nonsence comments just to see your name in the paper!!!!

  • Marshall Art
    October 22, 2013 - 11:13

    Vicki Kaminski or Susan Sullivan have likely never eaten a can of spaghettios because they know that canned slop like that contains enough salt to knock down a horse. They have no problem feeding it to elderly people, though. Our senior citizens will never be fed a regular diet of fruits and vegetables simply because they're too expensive and that would get in the way of Eastern Health saving millions of dollars.

  • Bob Dewling
    October 22, 2013 - 07:39

    I worked in Long Term Care with Eastern Health for 11 years and still work with the elderly. Vicki Kaminski is a very good CEO and her heart is in the right place. Her response was a very well thought out and crafted letter. Similar to a political leaders speech it meant to convey a message in a certain light and carefully tread around other points. Health Care is a very expensive benefit to deliver. It is more intended to meet basic needs and requirements but doesn't focus enough on going beyond that delivery of the essentials as much as we would like. We would all like to live comfortably and with quality and some conveniences no matter we live. Our health care system attempts to fund the basics. As you will find anywhere, there are people who will go well beyond anything expected of them in their duties at work. You will also find some people who do what is necessary. My experience in Long Term Care is that the vast majority of people working there really want to make the environment and relationships as much like a home/family environment as possible. We grieve for the loss of someone we have cared for as the family and friends do. Improvements to Long Term Care are not all about allocation of resources and staffing levels. Yes they are a key component in making sure you have the right tools and sufficient resources to deliver the service you are trying to provide. But there is more to it than that. There has to be an ongoing plan to look at how we can improve the services with what we have. Basic infrastructure must be in place. Buildings and rooms have to be designed from day one to provide optimal care in a home like environment. Maintenance has to performed to keep infrastructure from falling into disrepair. We have to look at the true value of meals being prepared on site and compare what the savings by preparing them elsewhere in bulk means to the people who spend 5, 10, or 15 years living in our Long Term Care "facilities". Long Term Care has to focus on more of the "living" part of living in long term care. People making decisions about funding and resources should spend a week actually living in Long Term Care and being bathed, dressed, fed and participate in the activities that they will actually live in if they were living there. They would see that providing the basics is not enough to care for the person. We need to make sure that we spend money wisely. I feel the best way to spend it would be on efforts, services and resources to keep people in their own homes or their family's homes as long as safely possible. Where else can you be more likely to feel at home and cared for like family. When this is no longer possible we need a better way to provide care for them in Long Term Care. "Improvements" and efficiencies should not always be about meeting a budget. We need to spend just as much time and effort looking at how we can improve the care and environment that we have to offer people. After working your entire life, raising children, paying taxes, and contributing to society we all deserve better than to spend our remaining days only being able to count on being afforded the basic necessities.

  • D Butt
    October 21, 2013 - 21:03

    The day may come when you yourself will end up in one of these homes and believe me you might not have reason to fear because of your status but for the ordinary person we have plenty to be concerned about. I myself like many others not just three cases I am certain, speaking from experience from having my mother in the system have witnessed people not just our mom but other people not receiving the basic necessities of life such as food and liquids for those who cannot feed or get fluids on their own. When our love ones go into places like these we hope their last few years on this earth would be as comfortable and caring as possible. It is really sad when the family is out of the province and can only get back to see someone you love gone away to bones from lack of anyone taking the time or effort to get food and liquid into them. The people who can help themselves by feeding themselves are without a doubt not in any danger because those people know what is going on and communicate if there was wrongdoing the ones who cannot do things for themselves are the ones who need the care and a lot of them are not receiving it and cannot communicate that their basic needs are not being met. We cannot be with our mom because of being out of province but we love her and our hearts ach when we do get back to be with her to see what is happening to her.

  • helen rickert
    October 21, 2013 - 17:49

    I think they should speak with the people who have a good word to say about. Hoyles Home if they can find some.The staff at the home are angels.They do their best with what they have to work with. Bless them.

  • Shawn Barry
    October 21, 2013 - 12:34

    I was an LPN for several years in the St. John's area (homes). I have never seen the conditions that are spoke of here. Yes, there are a few bad apples, but they even have some respect for patients or residents. I'm sure the conditions described by the families are not a result of staff. Some families are just so mean that they blame staff for their loved ones ailments. I've seen very ignorant and abusive families give a hard time to staff for no reason and it is these people that try and ruin the facility. There are a lot of families very grateful to staff members for the care there loved ones get and they express it. I assure you, these homes go over and above for their residents' needs. No patient walks out of a home. That is their final resting place and they are well looked after. I've seen a lot and I think it is unfair to publish negative and unproven accusations in the paper. Unfortunately, there , would be no news paper if the news was all good.

  • Randolph Crocker
    October 21, 2013 - 11:51

    I have observed excellent care being provided by the staff at Hoyles-Escasoni. That does not excuse a CEO that provides for patients receiving a once a week bath. The nonsense that Vickie states about receiving spaghettioes as a choice is disingenuous. Finally the gall, to suggest that the problem rest with the bias expressed by journalists at the Evening Telegram, is beyond belief, Vickie came with a clouded record and will no doubt leave with one. God save our elders. Randolph

  • david
    October 21, 2013 - 11:47

    When a person in Ms Kaminski's position goes to such lengths to criticize her critics, rather than acknowledge what everyone knows to be yet another element of the ongoing Newfoundland health care debacle ---- in truth, this is nothing short of a looming demographic nightmare for this province ---- you can bet that the Telegram has nudged a stone that needs and deserves to be completely turned over. IMO, she has shown that she's clearly petrified of this issue.....

  • michele
    October 21, 2013 - 11:06

    I have also worked in a long term facility and I have seen first hand the lack of care that residents receive. It is sickening to hear someone call out for help to use the wash room and to have a nurse sit and ignore their calls. The families of those not receiving the care they need and deserve have a right to speak out. And I feel the CEO should work on fixing the problem not defending it.

  • graham
    October 21, 2013 - 10:26

    Vicki says here are some facts.... patients are bathed every day.... some are bathed at the bedside or in their beds. here Vicki is playing with words. look up the meaning of bath... it means to immerse in a liquid. So a bath is factually a tub bath. you can not be BATHED (as Vicki says) by the bedside or in the bed. this is not a fact. Such what is called a bedbath or a sponge bath is in fact a wash. I have a disabled child 40 years old who gets a bath every second day. We use a lift in the tub, and is very reliable. He may get a bedbath(a wash) once a year. Vicki knows the difference (or does she) and must intend to mislead the reader? And she addresses nothing as to inappropriate or overmedications for these sick patients!

    • tom
      October 23, 2013 - 16:01

      Like you sir I am the father of a disabled adult and she has a shower EVERYDAY. This is something I make sure of. Also sir more than likely I am not like you in that I retired from hoyles escasoni nursing dept And as a person who expects the best of care for my loved one I provided the best of care for my client. Sponge bath is as effective as cleaning a patient as a tub bath. You make it sound like a sponge us used to wipe over a person when infact water is changed at least twice during the bath and no less than 6 face cloths are used ot one or two as used in a bathtub to ensure both warmth and cleanliness The person don't soak in dirty water like a bath.' The staff can get a good look at the body and notice if there are any weak spots in the skin. That sounds pretty good to me

  • Angela Crocker
    October 21, 2013 - 07:43

    Vickie Kaminski did the right thing . These workers are great ! Maybe some family members should visit more often to see what really goes on !

    • Ken Kavanagh
      October 21, 2013 - 14:51

      Angela, are you implying that my family is blaming the staff for any of this? In fact, we have stated all along that the workers at Escasnoi have been and are wonderful. In fact, we have stated both privately and publicly that this is complex and difficult work and is much appreciated by us. Also, are you implying that my family are infrequent visitors? In fact, collectively, we are daily visitors to see and hug our Mom. So, let me assure you. We do see what is going on and we will continue to speak up to ensure that our Mom and all the other residents of these facilities are treated properly and not negatively impacted by Government and/or Eastern Health policies. In the interest of our mother, we are doing the right thing! ken

  • Joseph Pollett
    October 20, 2013 - 21:03

    What planet do you live on??? I have seen first hand, at quite a few of the long term care facilities on the island, some of the work your so called "excellant care giver" that work in our health system, hand out on any given day, and it almost frightens me to death, to think that someday, my wife or me, might have to be put in one of these home!!! And to set the story straight, I'm just not talking about Eastern Health. Why don't you, or some of your people, make an unannounced visit, to see what you really think, instead of having these meetings with your front line employees and managers, where you are told, what you want to hear!!!

  • Dene Kavanagh
    October 20, 2013 - 21:01

    If The Telegram is not publishing the other so called stories,then why are they publishing this story. Yes people of their generation and also of mine grew up on canned goods, but with someone who is not supposed to have a high salt content ,should not be given such an option. Thank you very much.

  • Nellie Moore
    October 20, 2013 - 17:37

    I agree with Vickie Kaminski..I worked as a L.P.N for 25 yrs.

  • Sherry Sheppard
    October 20, 2013 - 17:16

    Vickie's words sound so sympathetic and sincere. Does she have a loved one in this long-term care facility??? I, myself, have been at Hoyles for a meeting and smelled the awful smell of urine. I couldn't wait to get outside for a breathe of fresh air. It truly is awful in there. Np doubt her visit was scheduled.

  • Shirley Belleau
    October 20, 2013 - 17:10

    I do not agree totally with Ms. Kaminski in her statement and part of it is like an insult to the patients, especially about the food they may have eaten in their past. First of all lets give the staff their stars because they are the greatest with the conditions I see in there to work through with such a lack of staff. For me they are all Angels of Mercy. Next on my mind is the food. Spaghettios is the worse dirt you can eat out of a can. Are they in a camp in the woods with nothing else left to eat! Canned foods are full of salt and lots of other chemicals as well as high in cholesterol. Is that a proper meal! There is never any fruits such as grapes, bananas and oranges and I have never seen broccoli or cauliflower on their plates. My Mom is supposed to be on a special diet but she is given all kinds of the wrong foods to eat. I`ve tried contacting the nutritionist without success for so long I gave up and pray to God instead that all goes well for my Mom. My Mom didn`t grow up eating canned foods such as what Ms. Kaminski stated that many grew up eating, canned pasta which is rotten foods, bologna was a rarity a couple of times a year and never when we lived in Quebec for 32 years,. The food was always healthy home cooked foods. She never ate canned pork or ham which must be horrible and we cooked our own baked beans. She didn`t live on Jigg`s dinner and may have cooked it once a year as a speciality for my Dad because we didn`t cook salty foods such as salt beef and pork. We cooked roast, chicken, turkey and broiled steaks, seafood such as salmon, halibut etc. along with cooked vegetables we didn`t live out of a can. Maybe if you would check out with other people who has patients in there they could verify with you on there menus of food. We need a change of menus at the Escasoni. Its the worse menus of all places and the food always is horrible but most try to eat it and get used to it or else starve to death. Please while you are taking notes on what needs fixing either change the food line to the Escasoni or else change the cooks if they only know how to eat out of a can which I doubt very much. Given the right foods, I am sure they could make very good plates of tasty food.

  • W.H
    October 20, 2013 - 16:59

    Employees have a difficult job looking after their families at home and their "families" at work. Newspapers sell because they sometimes may exaggerate stories to catch readers' interest in order to sell papers. Sometimes, though meaning well, family members may see their loved ones as not being treated to their high standards or might feel bad because they could not look after them at their homes. Hang in there you special workers.

  • Bert
    October 20, 2013 - 09:40

    This is accurate and shows the biased reporting the Telegram does. As with the Liberal race - they talk about 5 candidates but routinely show only pics of the same three. Sad state of affairs here when it comes to the media. You need only read McClean's blog about how simplistic his reporting is to see that. Pathetic.

  • Truthful
    October 20, 2013 - 09:10

    These issues at Hoyles were brought forward by family as a result of frontline workers stating that their hands were tied re staff shortages which resulted in delayed personal care of some residents who have special needs. The frontline workers were never the problem and always did the best they could with the resources they had. As Ms. Kaminski said, for those of you who are reading this, we the families ask you balance what you read and hear with what you know. This is not just for 3 families; it is for all families who have to hand over a loved one to Eastern Health. These concerns are not sensationalized stories, they are truthful concerns and they need to be addressed.

  • Ben
    October 20, 2013 - 08:47

    Glad to see the other side of the story getting out. Funny the media will run with a guy visiting his mother every month or so and seeing someone eating spaghettios. My best friend works at one of these homes in town...the people are very well taken care off. Maybe the media should report how some patients there go months without seeing a family member. And then when they do visit all they do is complain. Or maybe they should report on the good things going on in these homes! The reporting is quite sad!!

    • Sister of "that guy"
      October 22, 2013 - 09:00

      That "guy" is the voice for our family...a family who visits their mom EVERY day...a family who feels the agonizing pain of losing their mom to Dementia and its accompanying health issues. Your best friend is a gift indeed, not only to us but to our mom and the other beautiful souls that reside with her who cannot care for themselves. All we ask is for more "gifts" like your best friend and better nutrition. As a side note....Just because your friend sees a guy visit his mom once a month doesn't mean that is the only time he visits....actually doesn't mean anything. I can only visit weekends due to my work being away from town so what does that say? What your friend and others don't see are the tears and the heartache that grows with each step we take away from the home as we ponder on her well being while we are gone and if we will be lucky enough to have one last hug...one last " I love you" .. one last glance at her beautiful face upon our return.

  • John Smith
    October 20, 2013 - 08:25

    The tely has sensationalized this story from the get-go. Really sad to see what this Quebec owned rag has turned into...one step away from super market gossip tabloid..

  • carogers
    October 20, 2013 - 07:37

    How cant he media misrepresent BED SORES? The woman in the front page story had bed sores. That is the result of not being turned regularly. The management is under the impression they can blame the people who shine a light on their ugly problems instead of addressing them. Your statement " The three stories recently told are not unknown to us." This speaks volumes since the family had several conversations with staff and were told the problem would be "looked into." So you think only one lady is neglected and every other resident is well looked after? The general public is not that stupid to believe such foolishness Ms. Kaminski. By your own admission you have no idea what is really happening on the frontlines. The media on the other hand made the plight of theses elderly patients quite clear to the taxpayers. And for the love of God in heaven get the canned food off the menu, eating canned pasta is what you do when you cannot buy meat and vegetables to prepare a proper meal, not when your entire old age cheque has been taken away to PAY for YOUR care. What dietitian worth their salt would allow such junk? And... you are paying a dietitian on your staff. No more excuses or letters blaming others for having the guts to expose these atrocities. Ms. Kaminski simply fix the problems.

    • unknown
      October 22, 2013 - 09:54

      are you the family that brought in marys browns for your loved one!

  • Paul Bowering
    October 19, 2013 - 22:09

    My Dad has been in the Hoyles-Escasoni for the last five years. He can be at times a little difficult to deal with and a pleasure other times. In the last five years I can not think of one incident where I would be able to complain about the care the staff has given my Dad. At times they go overboard to please him. The things they do during the run of a day for the patients is above and beyond the call of duty sometimes. They're under staffed and required to work long shifts when needed. You guys want a good story? follow one of the staff around for a shit! You'll be shocked at what they are required to do during a regular shift sometimes.

  • Wendy
    October 19, 2013 - 19:54

    It is always concerning when one sided reporting is happening. I do believe It is purely to sensationalize an issue for ratings and/or to sell papers. Please people use your rational thinking an realize there are 2 sides to every story. Don't be duped into believing half of a reported story without all the facts.

  • Virginia Waters
    October 19, 2013 - 18:40

    Ms. Kaminiski says she went to Hoyles-Escasoni on Thursday to let management and staff know they had her full support. She also thanked all those family members who commended employees for their care of loved ones. Well I am one of those family members who regularly acknowledges employees when they properly and punctually perform what might be a very normal, expected, prescribed task. But Ms. Kaminiski shouldn't read anything more into those appreciative comments than is intended. I am not thanking them because I am satisfied with the overall performance of staff or conditions at the facility. More often I thank them because so often even the simplest and routine of functions are not done properly or on time. Let's be clear - the substandard performance of this facility on almost every criteria is down to many factors - only one of which is the failure of front-line staff to perform their jobs correctly. It is nevertheless a factor. Sometimes it can be attributed to staff shortages, inadequate resources and dilapidated structure. But there are many times it is more a case of poor morale, poor attitude, poor supervision and perhaps poor training. I don't believe Ms. Kaminiski to be a liar. But I do believe she is doing her best to minimize, trivialize, rebut and disparage all of those criticisms that, for the most part, I think are accurate and fair. And like all good bureaucrats, she is only too ready to hide behind privacy rules to avoid public accountability. My suggestion to Kaminiski - well actually to the Minister of Health - is this: we need an ombudsman mandated specifically to deal with issues facing the elderly, especially those in long term care. We need legislation that gives the ombudsman access to all patient files and that empowers them to conduct their own enquiries as they see fit. We need an ombudsman who can walk into any long term care facility, unannounced, for the purpose of examining the conditions in that facility, speaking with management and staff, and speaking with residents and their families. The ombudsman would be required to report directly to a legislative committee of the House and to file an annual report denoting the successes and failures of the system. Like children, seniors are among the most vulnerable members of our society and, as such, they deserve a dedicated system of oversight that ensures they are getting the best possible care.

    • To Virginia Waters
      October 21, 2013 - 12:44

      Hats off... you put into words the feelings of those who have by no choice of their own have to admit their loved one to a LTC facility. Thank you for contributing such insightful comments.

  • Bob
    October 19, 2013 - 18:10

    Well said Ms.Kaminski.My mother is a twenty year employee of the Hoyles-Escasoni and she along with all the staff there give their utmost and care about their residents as if they were family.The residents are treated wonderfully.

  • david
    October 19, 2013 - 16:56

    Attack the critics....a winning strategy. If Ms. Kaminski has not earned her egregious salary, she has certainly adopted "Newfoundland politician" strategies like a duck to water..

  • Bandit
    October 19, 2013 - 14:15

    If Vickie Kaminski has the true facts, nothing would stop her from cancelling the meeting with the Telegram. My opinion is, if you can stand by what you believe in, back it up or shut it up. Sometimes the agenda is the truth. From what the Telegram has reported, the families of residents have nothing but praise and respect for the frontline workers. Vickie Kaminski is suggesting otherwise, trying to deflect the True issue. Shortage of frontline workers.

  • CS
    October 19, 2013 - 12:39

    The issues at Hoyles Escasoni were raised in the media because Minister Sullivan and Ms. Kaminski have publically stated that the savings at Eastern Health was done seamlessly and did not affect services or patient care. Implementation of cost saving measures started in June of 2012 with not replacing those calling in sick has had an affect on patient care and this has been raised in the concerns raised by families. Eastern Health and the Minister continue deny that the issues raised by families have anything to do with cost saving measures. They have even denied that a policy exists to not replace front line workers who call in sick. They have misled the public. The concerns raised by most families are that there is too few staff to be able to provide the care needed for these residents... Ms. Kaminski and her Executive Team are the one's who have stated directly that staff are calling in sick at a rate of 8-10 per day in this facility and that this has caused a shortage in replacement staff. In doing so she has directed blame at staff, not families. Kaminski now wants to publically support staff at this facility. She should put her money where her mouth is and provide the necessary staffing levels so that frontline staff are able to do their job properly. By the way, kitchen staff have to follow the menu plans created by this facility and could never be blamed for the serving of spagettios to LTC residents. They have about as much control over the menu as they do over a sick leave policy that does not provide replacement staff.

  • Stormyweather
    October 19, 2013 - 11:55

    Not everything being said is untrue,,, as a former employee. , I can tell you with shortage of staff, sick leave, and just plain lazy staff, the care of the elderly was not up to par, very depressing for those of us who really care.

    • Joyce
      October 21, 2013 - 21:35

      Stormyweather: You have hit the nail on the head - from my experience in visiting any long care facilit y what you have said is the way I see the situation.

  • Sam
    October 19, 2013 - 11:06

    Great article. It's about time all sides of the story get out there. Most times the media concentrate too much on the negative side of things, it's interesting to hear that some family members wanted to speak to the media positivally about the care at this home and the media was not interested. But that's typical of both the Telegram and CBC these days, it's quite sad that these media outlets feel they need to do negative stories on everything in this province. No wonder we are the laughing stock in the rest of the country...the media is doing everything to make sure we continue to be looked at like this. But hey...it's all about the ratings! You tell me that's people who are interested in the betterment in this province. Again I am glad to see people starting to let us see the other side of the story.

  • Rockey
    October 19, 2013 - 07:45

    Nothing more than damage control, but unfortunately a tad too late. We can only hope that a lesson was learned here and that future workplace lapses are not allowed to escalate into out of control situations.