Councillors express concern over care at Aberdeen

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Warden says from his experience, service is great

PICTOU – A county councillor says he concerned about the level of care Pictou County residents are receiving at the Aberdeen Hospital.

During a recent finance committee meeting for the Municipality of Pictou County,  Coun. Jim Turple said he received an email from one of his constituents upset over the care her father is receiving as an inpatient on the fourth floor of the Aberdeen Hospital.

“She said the shortage of staff is so severe, she has to wash him, feed him and take food in for him,” said Turple. “She said the drinks come in containers that patients are unable to open and some patients are in bedpans for hours.”

Turple said she also passed along complaints about the food being served to the patients and the lack of blankets and clean towels on the floor.

“People are being abused and it has to stop,” he said. “This email was sent to me this afternoon and I would like to send our concerns along to the province’s minister of health and our three MLAs.”

Warden Ron Baillie told council he would not be putting his support behind such a letter to the province or the MLAs because he witnesses, first hand, good service on the fourth floor of the Aberdeen Hospital.

Baillie recently had a hip replacement surgery done in the Aberdeen Hospital and spent five days on fourth floor where he said “service couldn’t have been better”.

“I was treated well, there was lots of staff and the food, well it’s hospital food,” he said. “It was good. It was as good as I can get.”

Coun. Chester Dewar echoed Baillie’s comments saying that he too was treated well when he was a patient on the Aberdeen Hospital’s fourth floor.

He asked Turple if the woman was talking about the fifth floor of the hospital where patients wait for a place in nursing homes, which led to Coun. Robert Parker stating that some clarification might be needed on the issue before a letter is sent off to the province.

Turple said there was no reason for woman who contacted him to lie about what she was seeing at the hospital, adding she counted the number of nurses working each shift.

“In my view, regardless of what floor it is there are human beings there not being treated fairly,” he said.

Coun. Leonard Fraser said he was regular visitor to the Aberdeen Hospital when his father was a patient and he believes that people who can look after themselves are better off than those than those who require assistance from staff.

“As long as you are capable of doing so much, it’s not a bad place,” he said. “Sometimes staff don’t get there as fast as they should and some patients take a lot more care than others who can look after themselves.  People who have limited access have a problem, but it's a big problem with the system. The administrators should come out of his office and walk around and see things. They must be walking around with blinders on.”

Fraser said the hospital should be treated like a business.

“You have to get out and do it right,” he said.

Turple’s motion for a letter to be sent to the province and MLAs expressing concern over the level of care at the Aberdeen Hospital was carried with four councilors opposing it. It will need to pass through council’s June meeting for final approval before it can be sent off to provincial representatives. 

Organizations: Aberdeen Hospital

Geographic location: Pictou County

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Recent comments

  • Gina Cameron
    May 27, 2014 - 05:22

    My mother has been in the Aberdeen on the 4th floor for over a month now. I have seen first hand that the patients' care is not as good as it should be. She is not mobile and relies on the nursing staff for pretty much everything. I go as often as I can, but it is difficult due to the distance. I have seen her go long periods of time without having her hair washed (weeks!) and waiting hours to be moved from her chair to bed when she gets sore. Sometimes she is told repeatedly by staff when she rings that "they will be right there" and then waits for over an hour. Something needs to be done. I have spoken to the staff about my concerns.

  • Gina Cameron
    May 27, 2014 - 05:15

    My mother has been in the Aberdeen on the 4th floor for over a month now. I have seen first hand that the patients' care is not as good as it should be. She is not mobile and relies on the nursing staff for pretty much everything. I go as often as I can, but it is difficult due to the distance. I have seen her go long periods of time without having her hair washed (weeks!) and waiting hours to be moved from her chair to bed when she gets sore. Sometimes she is told repeatedly by staff when she rings that "they will be right there" and then waits for over an hour. Something needs to be done. I have spoken to the staff about my concerns.

  • Carmen MacArthur
    May 25, 2014 - 21:33

    In my experience lack of patient care in the Aberdeen hospital is a real problem and needs to be addressed. I witnessed elderly patients being left for up to three hours without a nurse as much as checking on him. Food was left on a table next to a patient who could not access the food. I also witnessed a patient wait for more than a half an hour when he asked to be helped to the bathroom. This is not meeting the most minimal needs of the sick, in particular the elderly. The situation I witnessed is not just a lack of adequate care, but in some cases is bordering on abuse.

  • Virginia Barbosa
    May 22, 2014 - 19:46

    I have always had the same outlook and I do not feel I am misguided in my belief. Our society and politicians need to step back and look at the facts. It costs upwards of $60,000 to house one inmate in prison. Inmates get in house cooked meals, televisions, internet, their own rooms, and free medications. Yet our aging baby boomers who worked to build our country and fought for our freedom get treated like inmates, they share rooms with only a curtain in between, wait for long term care beds, do not receive on site cooked meals, pay for their own medications and on average pay upwards of $3000 per month out of pocket for these "services". Whether it's fifth floor or fourth floor or where ever, let's treat our sick or injured citizens as well as our criminals, let's switch up these conditions. Doesn't that make more sense? I feel for all of the amazing things our country is capable of, this is a system failure. I can speak for myself and so many friends and family. The staff at our hospital work above and beyond other provincial hospitals. The staff can only work with what they are given with, and I would like to personally commend all of you for your diligent often thankless work. I have been hospitalized both here and in Halifax and without hesitation I would prefer to be cared for here. The penalty must fall on administration and politicians to fight for funding so that we maintain the services we have. I agree that things must change, but let's look at the big picture and where our tax dollars are spent.

  • Linda M. Gregory
    May 22, 2014 - 15:19

    Re a comment made in this article about the complaint perhaps being on the 5th floor..is this not an admittance that there are problems at this facility? Warden Baillie may have experienced great care while a patient but I hope that someday he is 80 or 90 years old in this facility needs a bedpan and waits and waits and waits until he cannot wait any longer and feels the same embarassment many of these patients feel, or worse that he falls while trying to get to the bathroom himself, or that his meal is left on a bedside table that he is unable to reach and someone comes in and takes it away and he is left hungry or burns himself on the hot plate but tastes the food that is either cold or frozen in the middle. Warden Baillie if this is what you feel is fair treatment for your constituents I don't think you should be in your position

  • Odin
    May 22, 2014 - 08:54

    Seriously? This gentleman receives ONE letter of complaint from a disgruntled constituent and he wants to send letters to any and all. Sounds like someone has an axe to grind or else has ulterior motives. I have had occasion to use the services at the Aberdeen several times over the past few years, from the emergency department to the fourth floor and I have nothing but praise for the level of care that I received. I have encountered nothing but professionalism and caring from the nursing staff. So where is the disconnect between the level of care I receive and what this lady complains about? Do the nurses say to each other that we'll take good care of this patient and we'll let that one fend for themselves? Doesn't seem logical to me. As for the food, it's a universal truth that people complain about hospital food. You would probably hear the same complaints at every hospital from Newfoundland to B.C. It's hospital food, you are not dining at Pictou Lodge. So if all it takes is one letter of complaint for the councillor to want to send letters of concern, then logic says it should also take one letter of support to send letters of praise, or is there an agenda at work here?

  • Doreen Carrigan
    May 22, 2014 - 08:02

    I just had total knee replacement at our local hospital the nursing care was excellent, there were RN's, LPN's and CNA's these people were very busy, when I needed help they were there for me. The Food is always another story in five days there was only one meal that was not fit to eat, had a meal taken in that day. Friday was my first day I was there over the long weekend so if there was storage of staff that is where it would have shown up. I can say I could not have had any better care.

  • Doreen Carrigan
    May 22, 2014 - 08:00

    I just had total knee replacement at our local hospital the nursing care was excellent, there were RN's, LPN's and CNA's these people were very busy, when I needed help they were there for me. The Food is always another story in five days there was only one meal that was not fit to eat, had a meal taken in that day. Friday was my first day than was there over the long weekend so if there was storage of staff that is where it would have shown up. I can say I could not have had any better care,

  • Common Sense
    May 21, 2014 - 17:07

    If I am to understand this news item, one email constitutes a concern for the level of care at the Aberdeen Hospital on the part of Councillor Turple. He further insinuates that patients are being abused at the hospital. Apparently the writer of this email to Mr. Turple also knows there is a severe shortage of staff at the hospital in addition to other issues. For an elected official in this county to use such scant evidence to request a letter to the provincial Minister of Health boarders on the ridiculous. Hopefully common sense will prevail when the councillor's motion hits the council floor & is defeated.

    • Lori Ann MacDonald
      May 23, 2014 - 10:20

      To the people who like to blame the staff of not doing their jobs good enough. You should put your self In their shoes. All nursing staff work shore well to often . There for have to work harder faster and do it well. They always think of the patients before their own needs . They have to wait to go to the bathroom breaks , because some one needs assistance , a ringing bell has them run off their feet , yet they still smile . They have work to do , and do it well . That is just a few thinks , I have been hit scratched spit on yelled at cursed at . Been called all kinds of names . But walk out of work still enjoying my Job & does it with compassion with every patient every shift .