Scrooged at Christmas

For the past 45 years Sutherland Hills Rest Home has been a family owned and operated long term residential care home. The previous owners the Wirtz family had the vision and heart to care for those people in Kelowna who needed full time residential care. Many of the staff have been a part of this family atmosphere for 20-30 plus years and have commented to me in the past that the staff and residents are part of their family. My mom chose SHRH because of the reputation of great staff and the faith based optional programs.  

A meeting was held for family members along with the residents on November 28th to say goodbye to the former owners and welcome the new owner and his management staff. The few questions that were asked re: will the staff change, will the food change and it was commented that there would be very little change in the coming months. 

In your letter to the residents families you stated: So, what will change? Your answer only  referred to (electronic funds transfer). So, what will not change?  Your answer “the quality and care and service. You will continue to see the many familiar and smiling faces that provide care and service to the residents and their families”. Most important to us is that you, our valued families and friends are supported and informed throughout the transition period. Regular updates and information sessions will be provided throughout the transition phase. This was a paragraph taken directly from your letter to families of residents.

Today what has changed: Job cuts, salary cuts, shift changes, full time staff cut to part time staff, vacation cuts which staff have earned for their years of love, service and sacrifice to our vulnerable aging and disabled seniors. This type of leadership is not “team building” and creates an atmosphere of uncertainty for everyone.

Many of us are and have been business owners in the past and this type of leadership is despicable especially right before Christmas. I speak on behalf of staff who are in fear of reprisals, residents who cannot speak up for themselves and families of residents who feel the same way as I. I couldn’t help but notice your tagline below your logo of loving hands holding a heart which states “Partners In Caring”. Where is the caring for the staff who have financial commitments, mortgages, families to care for after they care for our loved ones?  

Christmas is a time to give, help, reach out and not the time to be a Scrooge! 

Rita Letkeman

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