Historical Health in Wolseley
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Historical Health in Wolseley Community Presentation Wolseley, Saskatchewan May 31, 2012 Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit.

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Population Distribution 1921

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Historical Health in WolseleyCommunity PresentationWolseley, SaskatchewanMay 31, 2012Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit

Image courtesy of Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the University of Alberta Libraries. Available from, http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC013299.html.

Population Distribution1921


Main Street, Wolseley, Sask. (n.d.). Winnipeg, MB: C.S. Co. Ltd.


Main St looking West, Wolseley Sask. (n.d.). Wolseley,

SK: H.O. Langford, Drugs and Stationary.

Wolseley Late1940s

Images courtesy of Peel’s Prairie Provinces, a digital initiative of the

University of Alberta Libraries. Available from, http://peel.library.ualberta.ca/postcards/PC013299.html.

Early Healthcare & Doctors

  • 1920s-the population of SK was about the same as it is in 2011-though back then it was 87% rural.

  • Our relationship with doctors is very different from what it was in the 1920s.

  • Home births were as common as those in hospitals.

Early Doctors in Wolseley

  • Dr. Elliot, 1893 & Dr. Cooke, 1904

  • Doctors would travel by a team of horses in all weather to provide service:

    “A twenty mile drive against a winter wind to attend a ‘confinement’ in a farmer’s home was just a routine. It was assumed that the doctor would come, and the doctors assumed that it was not necessary to keep books or send out bills (592).”

Wolseley Contagious Diseases

  • Significant factor in the health of SK, high levels of infant mortality, death in disease outbreaks.

  • 1913 -Scarlet Fever –30 cases

  • 1921- Tuberculosis – 10 cases

  • 1937- Measles – 12 cases

  • Impact on family histories, survivors often joined blended families.

Increased State Intervention in Health, 1920’s

1920’s, SK population growing rapidly and increased state intervention in health.

Government allocates money to build: hospitals, sanatoriums (Fort San), and mental hospitals.

Post WWII: Medical Technology

  • Amount spent in Canada on social welfare and medicine “almost exactly equaled” to military spending during the war

  • Antibiotic revolution

  • High increase in medical “specialists”

  • Increased effectiveness of medical interventions but increased capital as well as institutionalization & centralization of services.

Institutionalization of seniors into care homes

Lakeside Home

  • 1920, Court House was renovated as “Home for the Infirm”

  • 1944, Department of Social Welfare took over the home (100 patients)

    Several name changes:

    • Home for Incurables

    • Home for Aged and Infirm

    • 1952, Wolseley Nursing Home

    • 1957, Provincial Geriatric Centre

    • 1971, the Lakeside Home.

SK Care of the Elderly, 1944

“There is a great need for additional Old Folks’ Homes. At present, old folks are taken care of in one government institution at Wolseley, in various charitable institutions such as St. Anthony’s Home at Moose Jaw, in general hospitals, and sometimes in private homes, where they are looked after for the $25.00 pension. It would be inadvisable to consider the construction of some large institution, since the old folks wish to die near the place where they lived, and where they have friends. It would be preferable to establish a larger number of small homes in various localities, which could be operated at little cost, and to pay a subsidy to institutions and individuals that attend to the aged.”

Saskatchewan Health Services Survey Commission –

Report of the Commissioner, Henry E. Sigerist, 1944

The Swift Current Experiment1946

Public Health Inequalities 1950s

Smoking and Cancer

Addressing chronic diseases

  • Even in 1964-the underlying factors were known.

  • “If a complex society produces complicated disorders, then the system of health protection must admit the need for a synthesis of varied and independent services.”

    -Richard Weinerman, CMAJ 1964

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