Patient boarding home needs upgrades, Nunavut MLA says
Health minister says maintenance and upgrades are the contractor's job
Nunavut’s health minister Monica Ell passed the buck in the Nunavut legislature last week when Baker Lake MLA Simeon Mikkungwak relayed complaints from Kivalliq patients about the Kivalliq Inuit Centre, the GN’s patient boarding home in Winnipeg.
“My constituents have raised a number of complaints about the furniture, particularly the size of the beds,” Mikkungwak told Ell during question period Oct. 28.
Besides complaints about the beds being too narrow, small and hard to sleep on for some patients, Mikkungwak said he’s also received complaints about other furniture being uncomfortable, a bad odour in the facility and spring-loaded doors that are difficult to open and impractical for patients recovering from certain surgeries.
Mikkungwak asked if Ell was aware of these concerns and if her department has looked into them.
“With the medical health centres, the facilities provided are provided by contractors,” Ell replied.
“We don’t tell them to get certain types of beds for the medical clients. Maybe it’s best if you ask that question to the people who have the contract.”
Recognizing that boarding home services are provided under contract, Mikkungwak asked how the health department addresses complaints about the boarding home facility.
“What we are trying to do at this time is we are going to be having an individual who will be looking at these boarding homes to see if they are appropriate,” Ell answered.
But when pressed by Mikkungwak, she did not provide a timeline for such an effort.
“In some sense it tells me she’s going to speak to the contractor,” Mikkungwak told Nunatsiaq News outside the legislative chambers Oct. 29, adding that if he received a list of the different contractors, he would contact them himself in hopes of resolving the issues.
“The beds are just too narrow, or for some elders they’re too high, and for some people they’re just too hard,” Mikkungwak said.
And the spring-loaded doors pose a real problem, he added, as some surgery patients are told not to lift more than 10 pounds during their recovery.
“It’s not known how strong the spring-loads are in the doors,” Mikkungwak said.
Winnipeg’s Kivalliq Inuit Centre, formerly known as the Ublivik Centre, opened in 1999 to receive patients and their escorts from the Kivalliq region.
The home suffered from bed bugs in 2010, a common household affliction in Winnipeg and other Canadian cities at the time.