The family of a Calgary man who died from complications after being scalded in a bath at a care home say a fatality inquiry’s recommendations don’t go far enough.
David Holmes was scalded while being given a bath. When a care giver noticed blistering, she called a supervisor, but 9-1-1 was never called.
One of the care givers drove the 35 year old man with developmental disabilities to hospital, two and a half hours after the incident. Holmes died from complications from the severe burns he suffered.
A provincial court judge is recommending care facilities look at ways of reducing human error by care attendants.
The judge is recommending that length of shifts or consecutive days of work need to be looked at in order to manage the role that stress, burnout or fatique play in incidents of error.
The judge also says care attendants must be empowered to assume responsibility for proper care, making decisions and not having to wait to get the okay from supervisors on a course of action.
But David Holmes family wanted the judge to go further.
They say the issue of staff qualifications, training and support for front line care givers has received little attention.
Holmes’ family say they’d like the government to commit to requiring more robust pre-employment qualifications such as a formal personal care attendant certification for clients with medically complex conditions.
You can read the full report here.
Human Services Irfan Sabir released the following statement on the inquiry report:
“This was a preventable tragedy and my thoughts are with Mr. Holmes’ family. Everyone should be able to feel safe in their home, and the safety of all Albertans remains a priority for our government.
“We are committed to working with agency staff and our community partners in service delivery to continue making improvements and implementing best practices. We must learn from this incident and do more to consider credentials and training in the PDD service delivery sector. We will be examining this sector as part of the second phase of our PDD safety standards consultation to address qualifications, recruitment, and retention in this valued workforce. Meanwhile, PDD service providers follow specific safety obligations and procedures set out by the Alberta Council of Disability Services’ accreditation standards.
“Every Albertan deserves to live safely, with dignity, and to be cared for in a manner that ensures their well-being. Our ongoing consultation on home safety with persons with developmental disabilities, their families and guardians, service providers, health and safety professionals, landlords, and other stakeholders is part of this work.”
The family of Holmes also issued a statement on Tuesday, voicing their concerns that the report didn’t go far enough:
“We are disappointed in the lack of specifics in the recommendations from the fatality inquiry with respect to staff qualifications and training. The report refers to changes that have been made in the PDD system. Up to this point, these changes have been primarily equipment related involving thermometers and temperature gauges; and drafting policies, and procedures, such as bathing protocols. The issue of staff qualifications, training, and support for front-line caregivers has received little attention.”
“Today, an Albertan who receives their care in the health care system will have their personal care needs met by an individual with 16 weeks of formal training. Disabled Albertans cared for in the PDD system, many of whom have complex care and medical needs, can be cared for by someone without standard pre-employment qualifications, who only receives on the job orientation, and little support.”
“We would like to see the government of Alberta, PDD, and contracted care agencies commit to requiring more robust pre-employment qualifications such as formal personal care attendant certification for their clients with medically complex conditions. We would also like to see the government of Alberta develop a concrete action plan to implement the intent of the Inquiry Report’s other recommendations.”