Marie Albert, two months from her 100th birthday, has been through it all: the great depression, a World War, and an adventurous voyage to Canada.
“My mom left Romania, my dad left Hungary, and they ended up going on the back of a truck with one suitcase each to Germany, and from Germany they came to Canada. That’s all they had,” her son Brian Albert told Global News Friday.
The Parkside Extendicare resident has also been through the pandemic. According to a Saskatchewan Ombudsman report, 39 people died as a result of the outbreak. 194 of 198 residents were infected with COVID-19. The report criticized the facility for overcrowding, as well as inadequately supplying its staff personal protective equipment.
Now, with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) announcing its closing in on a deal with Extendicare Canada Inc. to take over the company’s five care homes in the province, Brian Albert is optimistic his mom has more life milestones to come.
“100 years old and beat COVID. She’s a tough, crazy woman,” Albert said. “And I think it’s gonna be an upgrade. When you get a company here to make money being replaced by a non-profit with government backing, I think it’s gonna be better. I can’t see it not being better.”
In a Thursday news release the SHA announced it and Extendicare have reached an “agreement in principle to transition operations of the five Extendicare special care homes in Saskatchewan to the SHA, effective October 9, 2022, pending a final agreement.”
“This has been a complex process involving the transition of staff, an assessment of assets and ensuring financial, human resource and supply chain processes are in place to support stability,” the release reads.
“With the agreement in principle in place, the SHA can confirm it will assume responsibility for the collective bargaining units and unionized employees…This approach will ensure our goal of a smooth transition with few changes for residents.”
Neither party has made public specific financial details relating to the agreement.
Following the release of the Ombudsman report, which declared “Extendicare Parkside was unprepared for COVID-19 outbreak,” then-SHA CEO Scott Livingstone announced the SHA would be ending its agreement with Extendicare in the province.
Brian Albert said he noticed a difference in conditions after the Ombudsman report, such as four-person rooms reduced to two-person rooms.
He said he’s happy with the staff that assist his mom and has full confidence in them as the transition moves forward.
“All I care about is that I can come here, and that when my mom is hungry she gets fed, when she has to the bathroom, that she gets her medicine all the time. I think she has very, good care here,” Albert.
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