The Spaghettios Scandal at the Hoyles-Escasoni Complex continues to unfold, as residents’ relatives reveal the inadequate care and neglect taking place in that long-term care home.
Telegram reporter Bonnie Belec’s series of stories about conditions and treatment in Hoyles-Escasoni has exposed a facility that can be described as ghastly at best and horrific at worst.
Some residents have developed bedsores that resemble flesh wounds, because they are not turned often enough, relatives say. Residents receive only one bath per week, as per administrative policy.
(One bath per week? In whose world is that proper personal hygiene? If your teenager were taking only one bath or shower per week, it would be time to have a serious, authoritative talk with the youngster. Perhaps Hoyles-Escasoni management’s rationale is that seniors seldom go out.)
Visualize one of your own parents in this situation, and it is easy to empathize with the relatives’ anger.
Health Minister Susan Sullivan said the conditions at Hoyles-Escasoni don’t have anything to do with cutbacks.
Apparently, Eastern Health has managed to save about $22 million in the 2013-14 fiscal year’s first quarter. This was done, Sullivan said, by the “operational improvement process” — what regular people would call cutbacks.
Meanwhile, back on the Hoyles-Escasoni units, frontline personnel are overworked and understaffed. Workers say so. Their union says so.
Eastern Health says no. See if you can make sense of their explanation (if so, treat yourself to a can of spaghettios).
The Hoyles-Escasoni Complex has enough full-time staff, Eastern Health says. Problems arise, they say, because relief staff cannot always be found to fill in for the eight to 10 permanent staff members, on average, who call in sick every day.
This might make sense to a bureaucrat.
But looked at objectively and without an inclination to apologia, it is readily apparent that Hoyles-Escasoni needs more permanent staff so it has enough personnel to cover for those who are sick each day.
If management knows that a certain number of staff can’t make it to work, they have to take that into account when setting the number of full-time employees that are needed.
There is a reason why football teams carry three quarterbacks. They know it is likely that the first-stringer, and possibly even the second-stringer, will get hurt. You need someone on the roster who can immediately fill in.
When I read the headline “Seniors’ home serves up spaghettios” in the Oct. 5 edition of The Telegram, I initially thought it must be some kind of joke — kids’ day at the old folks’ home, or some such, with gallivanting geezers laughing and having water-balloon fights and playing pin the tail on the Dunderdale.
To the horror and disgust of thousands, it was all too real.
When I read Ken Kavanagh’s comment that, “I wouldn’t feed canned spaghettios to my kids,” I thought he was going to say, “I wouldn’t feed canned spaghettios to my dog,” which is exactly what a friend of mine said after reading the story.
Unfortunately, spaghettios were being fed to Kavanagh’s 84-year-old mother and other residents at Hoyle-Escasoni, which is why he went public with his various concerns.
Canned pasta is an abomination. It is revolting. It is something that would not exist in a fair and just world.
The fact that spaghettios are a menu choice at Hoyles-Escasoni makes Eastern Health automatically lose credibility regarding the treatment of residents there. Eastern Health instantly loses the argument. Any explanation it gives about the situation at Hoyles-
Escasoni can be met with, “But you also think it is reasonable to feed spaghettios to seniors.”
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached at email@example.com.