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Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre


by Rhonda J. Prepes and Rhonda Spivak July 26, 2011



By Rhonda J. Prepes and Rhonda Spivak

[This is part one of our report –please check back in the next day or two for a continuation- Part 2 ] 

Over 200 concerned individuals attended “a standing room only” meeting for family and residents at the Sharon Home (Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre) on Monday, July 25, 2011 at 7 – 9 pm , which  follows  the Sharon Home having to undergo a “full standards review,” the first of its kind in the  history of  Manitoba. CTV and Global TV waited outside for the statement promised by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority at the end of the meeting.

Sources tell the Winnipeg Jewish Review that in the meeting Sheila Novak, whose mother is on the same floor as Lillian Peck z"l was, said that for over three years her family has been struggling to try to get improvement in her mother's care, in terms of toileting and wound care. “We have met with management on more occasions than I can count,” she said and indicated that they have even had to file a formal complaint with the Protection of Persons in Care Office.

Novak told the crowd that she wrote to Sandra Delorme, CEO of the Sharon Home to say that she has addressed this issue repeatedly for 3 years, with management, the social worker, and “with every level we could” but she is still waiting for a response from the Home. Novak, who was one of over 20 audience members who spoke at the meeting, questioned how Delorme could say as she had earlier in the meeting that the Home has learned from its mistakes when she is still waiting to hear a response.

Delorme acknowledged receiving Novak’s letter and said that she had passed it down to a manager to get back, and promised to follow up on it. When Delorme added, “Part of it comes down to what we realistically can deliver and what we can’t and what the expectations are” the audience moaned in distaste.


Prior to the meeting, the Winnipeg Jewish Review in a telephone interview with Jack Litvak, Co-Chair of  the Board of the Sharon Home asked if in retrospect he could now say that the Sharon Home Board should have met in the first place with a group of concerned stakeholders led by Harriet Berkal, rather than refusing to meet them as a group. Litvak answered, “That’s possibly so.”

When asked if there were mistakes made in the way that the Board has dealt with concerns and complaints about the standard of care up until now, Litvak replied: “I’m not sure that there are mistakes, but there’s a recognition that the more communications the better.”

When asked if there would be minutes taken of the meeting, Litvak, who has headed the Board for the last “2-3years” answered “I don’t know.” [Editor’s note: This Editor suggested to Litvak that there ought to be.]

When asked the last time that Saundra Delorme’s performance was reviewed by the Board, Litvak said there had been an “evaluation about 7-8 months ago.” When asked when the next evaluation will be , Litvak answered that that “will probably come up before the annual meeting [October 26, 2011].

When asked what the reforms to the by-laws would be regarding the governance of the home (specifically whether the  by-laws would be changed so that residents/family members and donors could vote to elect Board members), Litvak answered, “It’s too soon to tell.”

When asked if he intended to continue to be the Co-Chair of the Board, he answered, “I don’t know. It’s a little early in the game.”

Litvak said that the decision to call last night's meeting was the Board’s initiative. “It was our idea to do it. We thought it was the proper approach.” However, the Board’s decision was made after receiving significant media scrutiny from local Jewish press, which included the suggestion of having a “town hall” meeting.


At the meeting, chaired by Jack London, Bernadette Preun, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health; Real Cloutier, Chief Operating Officer of WRHA and VP of Long Term Care; Jean Cox, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health and Milton Sussman, Deputy Minister of Health were present.

There was much discussion revolving around the circumstances of  the death of Lillian Peck, the mother of  Marsha Palansky. Her death was referred to throughout as  the  “critical incident.”

As a result of  Peck’s death some nine months ago , an investigation  was launched by the Protection for Person’s in Care Office that looked into whether Peck had been the victim of “abuse” while a resident at the home. On July 20, 2011 the investigation concluded the “the allegation of physical abuse by neglect  is founded.”

Sources tell the Winnipeg Jewish Review that at that meeting Saundra Delorme, CEO of the Sharon Home offered condolences to the family of  Lillian Peck. She admitted “The resident deserved better care  than she got here at the home.”

Marsha Palansky who spoke at the meeting said neither herself nor her sister ever received an “apology” from the home for the  poor care her mother received. Palansky said that in January, 2011 Delorme said , “My condolences to you” but then said a comment that Palansky said she " wouldn’t repeat at the meeting."

Delorme in her opening remarks said that she couldn’t change what has already happened but she guaranteed that “we have learned from our mistakes” and that the home would work very hard to earn back the community's trust and respect.

Palansky expressed dissatisfaction with a letter distributed to the families of residents on November 18, 2010 and redistributed again this week. She told the audience that in the hospital her mother was reported to have skin deterioration, but it was later described by the board as bed wounds. She was also not contacted immediately (when her mother’s condition worsened) as claimed by the board. 

Following Peck’s death, The Sharon Home  underwent its  own internal investigation, a critical incident review,  a review by the Protection for Persons in Care Office  and  reviews by the College of Registered Nurses and the College of Licensed Practical Nurses. The College of Registered Nurses has not completed its report to date. The College of Licensed Practical Nurses has completed its report and the nurses of the Home are completing a voluntary undertaking.

Delorme told the audience that as a result of  the home’s own internal investigation  regarding the death of Lillian Peck, one nurse “is no longer employed at the home and 6 other nurses were disciplined.”

The report from the Protection of Persons in Care Office [PPCO] released on July 2, 2011  said that  it acknowledges that “Manitoba Health is undertaking a comprehensive [26] standards review of the facility..however, we have asked Manitoba Health  Regional Programs and Services to undertake a review to focus on specific areas of leadership and communications," including “effectiveness of family engagement, and culture within the facility.”(other standards being reviewed are abuse restraint, care planning, staff education and complaints, physician services, pharmacy, health records, dietary, laundry, housekeeping, recreation, spiritual care, safety and security,  infection control, etc.] The PPCO has also recommended to Manitoba Health that the facility’s licensing statute be reviewed.

Significantly, in the meeting Delorme indicated that it was the Home that requested a full 26 standard review after Marsha Palansky, Harriet Berkal and their group met with Milton Sussman, Deputy Minister of Health and his Assistant Deputy.

Sussman indicated that after his meeting with concerned family members both “in the spring and summer of this year”, he met with Litvak, Phyllis Speigelman, the other Co-Chair of the Board and Delorme to discuss a number of “significant” concerns and said  We decided to take Sandra up on her suggestion of doing a full standards review.” Sussman said that “we expanded the full standards review to try and address some of the additional concerns that the families had identified in their meetings with us.”

Palansky told the audience that the “full 26 standards review” was in reality not initiated by the Sharon Home but by the Deputy Minister’s office  which got involved after Harriet Berkal’s group went to the Deputy Minister’s office.(which occurred after the Board of the Sharon Home refused to meet with Berkal’s group as a  group).

There was much discussion at the meeting of  whether the circumstances of Lilian Peck’s death were an “isolated” incident, which is how Delorme referred to it.

Palansky and others noted that in regard to Peck ,the skin deterioration/wounds were not “isolated” in the sense that it involved not one nurse, but seven. According to Marsha Palansky it involved “three nursing shifts over five days.” Novak asked what the nurses were all disciplined for, and whether the fact that seven were involved shows there is a problematic “culture” at the  home.

According to sources, Delorme clarified that the “critical incident” was referred to as “isolated” in that it involved only one resident [Peck], and was not found to be occurring with others. The day after Peck’s death Delorme said the Home did a “head to toe assessment of all residents”, and checked their care plans and found there were no other residents with the same care issues. Cloutier, VP of Long Term care confirmed that Peck’s situation was “isolated” in that “there were no other residents found with this type of wound. However there were issues around communication, engagement, the whole communication with family that you could extrapolate to other cases, which is being referred to “culture”.”

Delorme also referred in her remarks to a care review that started in late 2009 almost a year prior to the “critical incident” involving Mrs. Peck. There were many concerns raised by a family member and Delorme said the Home believed that having an external nursing and medical review would be valuable. The WRHA agreed to undertake that review. The nursing review, as well as, the medical review were released to the family just prior to the “critical incident.” Recommendations made as part of that review were also imbedded in the Home’s quality improvement plan.


In a related matter, the Sharon Home has advertised in the Winnipeg Free Press for a Development Co-ordinator to report to CEO Saundra Delorme. Here is  the job posting below:


Winnipeg, MB, CANADA

Posted Jul 23, 2011 1 Position(s)

The Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre The Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre is a Jewish faith-based 200 bed personal care home located in the south end of Winnipeg. Development Coordinator The Centre is seeking a well organized, results oriented, self starting individual to join our organization. The Development Coordinator, reporting to the President/CEO, is responsible for annual campaigns, major and legacy gift programs and special events. Responsibilities would include coordinating public relations and communications activities. Minimum qualifications for this position include post secondary education in a related field and at least three years fund development experience. A CFRE designation would be an asset. The applicant's experience will include individual and corporate fund development, grant writing and event management. Salary and benefits will be commensurate with experience. The Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre offer a competitive benefit package. Applicants are invited to submit their resume by August 12, 2011, to: Sandra Delorme President / CEO [email protected] The Saul and Claribel Simkin Centre 1 Falcon Ridge Drive Winnipeg, MB R3Y 1V9


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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.