The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations is expressing concern that a lack of translation services at the Victoria Hospital in Prince Albert is impacting patient care.

“We have an instance here of an elder who’s very ill, and due the lack of translators and lack of communication they’re not able to provide the best quality of care for this particular gentleman. It just shows there are some gaps in services that I think we need to address,” said Vice-Chief David Pratt.

The FSIN is referring to an 88-year-old northern patient receiving treatment in isolation who does not speak English. Pratt questions where his supports are.

He raised a second incident where a woman, who declined to be identified claimed she received rude treatment from nursing staff.

“We had another elderly woman’s family call to tell us that she was being mistreated by rude and unprofessional nurses.  She doesn’t want to be named because she’s scared that they’ll treat her worse in retaliation. These elderly patients need the help of translators and patient support services to understand what is happening to them and to be informed of the type of care they are receiving.”

The Saskatchewan Health Authority said it is aware of some of the these concerns and does arrange for translations supports to be provided when needed.

“We are aware of some of these concerns, and for those raised directly to us, we have reached out to ensure the patient has the supports they require,” said Andrew McLetchie, SHA’s Vice-President for Integrated Northern Health in a statement. “While there is limited family presence due to public health measures during the pandemic, we can and do arrange for family members to be present to support the communication between the patient and the health care team.”

Pratt said translation barriers in hospitals are not a widespread issue, but concedes the pandemic is making it difficult for family members to attend to translate for the patient.