Service may be adjusted due to staff shortages, Glenbrook Lodge warns

Bonnie Belec
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Family members with loved ones at Glenbrook Lodge are being warned about the possible side-effects of staff shortages at the long-term care facility in St. John’s, The Telegram has learned.

Glenbrook Lodge on Torbay Road in St. John’s is feeling the effects of staff shortages, according to a memo sent out to family members of the residents living there.

“Glenbrook Lodge is currently facing staffing challenges. As a result there are some days when we find ourselves working short on a particular unit and we may have to adjust the delivery of care to our residents,” says a memorandum to families from Maj. Rex Colbourne.

“As well we may have to cancel non-urgent appointments needing escorts if family members are not available to assist,” says the document obtained by The Telegram.

When contacted Monday, Colbourne, Glenbrook’s executive director, referred questions about the memo to Eastern Health.

Eastern Health has told The Telegram, and reiterated the point Monday, that it is refusing to answer questions regarding long-term care in St. John’s.

During the past few weeks there have been many stories written about staffing issues and how families of residents say it is affecting patient care at another facility in St. John’s — the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex.

Stories have centred around family members, residents and workers who have expressed concerns about such issues as medications, the level of patient care, nutrition and understaffing.

The stories first came about when Eastern Health announced it had saved $22.7 million and reduced 230 full-time equivalents positions as of June 30 through operational improvement initiatives launched in May 2012.

In response to those stories, Eastern Health issued a statement Oct. 4 in which CEO Vickie Kaminski said, “When I announced our operational improvement initiatives I clearly stated at that time these initiatives would not have any impact on the quality and safety of patient, resident and client care.  I believe we are achieving that objective.”

Eastern Health is continuing with initiatives which aim to save $43 million and reduce 550 full-time equivalent positions over two years.

Kaminski and Health Minister Susan Sullivan said staffing issues raised by family members, residents and unions are not as a result of this initiative.

However, they both acknowledge Eastern Health has “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.”

In the memorandum from Glenbrook Lodge, Colbourne says that facility is also feeling the pressure and is working with Eastern Health to address the challenges.

“However, this is not something that can be corrected overnight, as we must seek to recruit staff for the required disciplines where there are currently shortages,” he tells family members in the memo.

“In the meantime we are attempting to replace sick calls, bring in staff on overtime and replacing staff from other nursing disciplines to help with care. We are also collecting data on how the shortage is affecting care, monitoring daily needs and changing approaches to best suit needs,” he says, asking for patience and understanding during the challenging days as staff do their best “under these very difficult circumstances,” to provide quality care to residents.

Glenbrook Lodge is owned and operated by the Governing Council of the Salvation Army in Canada.

Organizations: Governing Council of the Salvation Army

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Recent comments

  • rose mauricette
    October 22, 2013 - 23:13

    It's never easy to find yourself working short on the Unit

  • Anna
    October 22, 2013 - 14:20

    I would imagine Vicki will pay a visit to Glenbrook and say everything is as wonderful over there as it is at Hoyles.

  • wayne
    October 22, 2013 - 12:53

    wait a minute.....during the last budget the Tories kept saying that in spite of all their cutbacks "the level of services will not decrease" could it be that this was not true ??? I'm shocked

  • Graham
    October 22, 2013 - 12:34

    Glad too se the blame has been placed exactly where it belongs with Eastern Health and Kaminski. The logic of this woman and Health Minister Susan Sullivan quite frankly defy logic... Cut millions of dollars and hundreds of staff in order to improve service....The logic in all this is what exactly Minister Sullivan? Perhaps you can answer since Kaminski refuses to do so. Then again you carefully pick and choose what you want to answer don't you now Minister Sullivan. This Government and this so called CEO of Eastern Health are both responsible for the mess the system is in and neither one has the guts to either admit it or deal with it.

  • david
    October 22, 2013 - 10:24

    So...where do you think Vicki Kaminski might be planning to spend her 'golden years'....? Answer: not here. She can afford much better, thanks to Hibernia and the Newfoundland taxpayer. So long, suckers!

  • saelcove
    October 22, 2013 - 09:54

    Maybe they need to hire people that want to work

  • Contradictions inCare
    October 22, 2013 - 08:29

    One of the better homes in the city now acknowledges the challenges it faces in staffing and we are expected to believe it has nothing to do with the cost saving measures that have resulted in $1.6M in long term care even as the number of LTC residents increased. At least the administration of Glenbrook have acknowledged this. Glenbrook is 106 bed facility; Hoyles Esacason is 392 bed facility.

  • Patrick
    October 22, 2013 - 07:34

    I find it completely appalling that Ms.Kaminski can say that patients care is not being affected by cutting jobs????Does she have her head in the sand?Maybe she should do a walk through with family members of these patients and see the "real" long term care facilities!The staff can only do so's the Government and Eastern Health that are to blame for the crisis.If the Government can throw away $110 on the Corner Brook Paper Mill,money can be found for our elderly-the public needs to speak up...and now!!!

  • Sam
    October 22, 2013 - 06:46

    I have a family member at Glennbrook lodge and have made a some complaints and suggestions, I am glad the Major Rex has noticed and is taking action. The bottom line is there is just not enough staff. They have two rec staff for the whole building, very little volunteer’s, there is no one to sit and comforted a resident when their upset. The PCA’s are great (most of them) they don’t stop. We have our loved ones in these facilities because we as their families just don’t have the time to provide the care they need and apparently either to eastern heath.