The family of Mary Mack says they are encouraged after meeting with officials from the Sun Country Health Region last week.
The two sides held a meeting Aug. 14 to discuss concerns the family raised about Mack’s care at the Estevan Regional Nursing Home in an article that appeared in the June 6 edition of The Mercury.
In the article, Mack’s daughter Maggie Dupuis outlined a number of cases of neglect and expressed concerns about possible abuse. In the days following the article, Sun Country agreed to open an investigation into the matter and said they would like to have a meeting with the family to get all of their concerns out in the open.
Dupuis said she came away from that meeting, which took place in Estevan at the Super 8 Motel, feeling positive that the two sides will work together to resolve the situation.
“We truly believe that good will come of it,” said Dupuis, who noted that among the Sun Country contingent was CEO Marga Cugnet and board member Gary St. Onge. Officials from local unions, the provincial government and the independent investigator hired by the health region were also present.
“We had specific requests of them and so far Sun Country has met two of our immediate requests regarding our mom. Putting the anger and the hurt and everything aside, the meeting did go as planned.”
Dupuis added that she came away hopeful that Sun Country will continue to investigate the matter and took the family’s concerns to heart, a feeling she didn’t get after a previous meeting held roughly a year and a half ago.
“We definitely felt that we got our concerns out there and we feel that they are really going to seriously look at them and not just brush them under the table again this time,” Dupuis said. "Bringing it out to the public made a difference too, and we told them that at the meeting. Obviously it took us going to the media for us to be taken serious. I really believe they had their eyes opened.”
Dupuis said the two sides have also pledged to keep the lines of communication open between them.
“They’ll keep us updated on their progress and the other requests we made and if they’ve been done. We are going to try and build trust again between them and us."
Cugnet said she also felt the meeting moved along fairly well as the Mack family were provided the opportunity to bring their concerns forward.
“The independent reviewing officer is from Saskatchewan and has a nursing background from the provincial sector. She has conducted reviews in the past so brings some experience in these matters to the table,” said Cugnet.
The meeting was busy in terms of numbers with six people on hand representing the health region, some union representation and several members of the Mack family present to help get the process moving forward.
“It's too early to talk about making progress. This was more of an introductory meeting,” said Cugnet, describing the session.
“I understood the reviewing officer wanted to speak to their family members the next morning,” Cugnet added.
Chris McKee, the quality care co-ordinator, served as one of the facilitators for the meeting.
“It's also too early to talk about a time line or a deadline. But I expect that once the review is complete and a report is filed, the family and the Sun Country Health Region representatives will meet again.
“But to try to guess as to how fast the review can be done, is something I can't do at this stage. I would think it would depend on how much digging she'll need to do and how far back she'll have to go and how much detail she expects to include,” said Cugnet.
In the meantime, the Sun Country CEO said she had not heard anything more about the Estevan Police Service investigation into the same complaint.