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Ontario coroner revising reporting form used in long-term care home deaths

Joanne Laucius 

The chief coroner of Ontario is revising the death record used to report long-term care home deaths with questions calculated to raise red flags about deaths that warrant closer looks. A significant proportion of deaths in Ontario happen in long-term care homes: about 20,000 annually from a total of 160,000. These are less likely to be investigated by a coroner, but there’s a simple explanation: People with numerous concurrent medical conditions are simply more at risk of dying, and the demise of a very ill or elderly person can hardly be described as unusual. But the simple explanation can also mask suspicious deaths. “There has been a bias in society that long-term care deaths are not unexpected,” chief coroner Dr. Dirk Huyer said. Eight elderly people died at the hands of nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer, who injected them with insulin. A public inquiry found last week that a coroner had been called in three of those eight cases. There was no suspicion that the deaths were the result of intentional wrongdoing, so Wettlaufer’s crimes were only uncovered after she confessed in September 2016. While the total number of Ontario deaths investigated by the coroner’s office has remained about the same in the past decade — from 18,308 in 2007 to 17,154 in 2017 — the number of long-term care death investigations dropped sharply: to 886 in from 3,326 in 2007. While a coroner investigating a long-term care death will typically conduct a head-to-toe examination of a body, autopsies in long-term care deaths are also rare.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/nursing-home-deaths

The people who profit from Ontario long-term care homes are not the people who have to live in them

A message from SEIU, Healthcare Union in Canada, The Globe and Mail

Well-off people don’t have to. They pay more for better conditions. But many Ontarians have no choice. They’re stuck with Chartwell, Extendicare, Revera or Sienna and the service they provide. They pay CEOs well for generating profits. But it doesn’t take a wizard to generate profits from a captive market by cutting costs relentlessly. A CEO worth the millions paid to Brent Binions, Michael Guerriere, Thomas Wellner and Lois Cormack might find better ways to make money instead of rationing diapers, seriously understaffing homes and leaving workers struggling to provide basic levels of care. Leaders know business can be better than this. Sustainable businesses make profits while improving their communities. Use your influence to get Binions, Guerriere, Wellner and Cormack to develop a better business plan. One that leaves the elderly with their dignity.

Read more about this here:
www.TellThemToCare.ca

With a looming aging crisis, who is helping the caregivers?

The Globe and Mail, Zosia Bielski

Elder care leaves families stressed, exhausted and looking for help, a challenge particularly felt by women. A patchwork of hospital programs, government supports and online communities shows a way forward. Nearly half the population has cared for an aging, ill or disabled family member or friend at some point, according to the latest data from Statistics Canada. Informal caregivers contributed $26-billion in free labour to the health-care system annually, a 2009 study found. More than half of Canadian carers nursed a loved one for more than four years and many of them faced substantial out-of-pocket expenses while struggling in their careers: 43 per cent missed work, 15 per cent cut down their hours and 10 per cent passed up a promotion or new job, according to Statistics Canada. Women particularly face this challenge, since more of the daily tasks of giving care still fall to them

Read the rest here:
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-with-a-looming-aging-crisis-who-is-helping-the-caregivers/https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-with-a-looming-aging-crisis-who-is-helping-the-caregivers/

Crying out for care

Marketplace, CBC, featuring David Common
www.cbc.ca/marketplace/

As a continuation of its two-year investigation, the CBC’s Marketplace goes undercover in this episode to see what life is really like for our loved ones inside long-term care facilities. The program follows one daughter who installed a hidden camera in her mother’s room, and uncovered the truth about how her mother really died. The CBC’s hidden camera investigation concluded that these facilities are still understaffed and its front line workers are overworked. Although Premier Ford recently  announced that the Ontario Government will add 15,000 new beds for long-term care over the next five years, 30,000 in ten years, he did not elaborate on who will care for those new beds in facilities where family members find the conditions unacceptable, and staff workers continue to be set up to fail. At this press conference, newly appointed health minister, Christine Elliott, said that she takes the concerns of all front line workers very seriously, and she added that her department is conducting a human resource review.

You can watch the video here:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=CppkSWRdVTo

Ontario drafting plans to create super agency to run health care

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario needs a more centralized and integrated health-care system as it copes with growing demographic challenges, a premier’s council charged with ending hallway medicine says in its first report. The initial report from the council headed by retired hospital CEO Dr. Reuben Devlin was released Thursday. It doesn’t contain specific recommendations, but sketches a future of health care in Ontario that likely does not include the current regionalized system of LHINs (Local Health Integration Networks), that is leaner and that is centrally controlled.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/premiers-council-sets-stage-for-more-centralized-leaner-health-care-in-ontario

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