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[The Winnipeg Jeiwsh Review received this letter on July 18, 2011. The Editor's thoughts follow it]


MY Mother, Lily Elston, [of blessed memory]  died in the Sharon Home.  She lived there from October/ 08 to April /09.  She was 90 years old.


We knew she was ill and expected the decline. She had been diagnosed with stomach cancer and had been ordered morphine [ r something like that for pain].  Staff were very professional and kind in the days she was dying. I  was called and notified that she was showing signs of passing away.  We stayed with her from Sunday to Thursday; she died in her sleep .


I had been in touch  with staff, and in the building on a regular basis.  I visited during the day and evening.  I was there during meals. On one occasion, my Mother reported she was punched on the arm by a sometimes violent resident sitting  at the dining table with her. 


My concerns about her living there was the attention, or lack thereof from the nurses’ aides. There seems to be a Community of nurses and aides, that promoted jobs as personal ‘attendants' for people who require more care than is possible on the current rota;  [ hat ever pertains at the moment]. In short, when a resident required more care than was scheduled; staff would hint to me that having a personal attendant would be better for that person.  This was permitting the low job performance standard to continue.

This is the type of task they were too busy to do:

-one to one stimulation,


 -hair care,


 -doing nails,

 - false teeth care,

 -back rubs with lotion,


 -wheeling to activities,

 -warming food,  and



I know this, because these are the tasks that were outlined to me by the staff nurse, when I asked her what the companions did.   I did ask for more care for her before I hired someone, and was told by the social worker and head nurse that they simply did not have the "Time for more personal care."

I found that strange because this is a parsonal care home. 



The aides do not always do their jobs well.  I saw many aides on phone calls, having private discussions, complaining to each other about having to work  too hard.  [while sitting at a table] Their work standards and expectations are not kept up; or are too low.  I saw this attitude in the St. Boniface Hospital as well.



As she declined, and because I was sick myself; I bowed to the status quo and paid for an attendant for several hours each day. This continued for about 3.5 months.



My Mother had previously lived in the Misericordia Interim Care unit for 2 months. She seemed to have enough personal attention there;  but that is not measurable. 


This  accepted use of private, family paid, companions is hiding a fault in this system.  They are under funded/ or understaffed for the type of care people need or want.    By not addressing this in a public fashion, the Board has allowed a climate of DON’T ASK/DON’T TELL  to develop.  Since people view having a companion as status,  [I am better than you because I have a private companion.]; it promotes this poor standard of care, and covers the deficits in the system. 


I feel that the Sharon Home Board should be open to the community; - all families that come to live there should be welcome as General members of the board.


Faye Mount


Editor's thoughts: It would seem to me to be clear that  basic and essential tasks  such as toiletting, feeding, bathing, wheeling to activites, warming food and dressing are tasks that ought to be provided by the Sharon Home staff without the necessity of hiring a private companion. If what  Faye Mount describes is accurate then there is  a problem. This is certainly a matter that ought to be investigated.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.