Currently Browsing: The Ottawa Citizen

Don’t use no trespass laws in Ontario retirement homes

The Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board, The Ottawa Citizen

(Note from Lise: There have been cases in Ottawa involving caregivers who were also banned from long-term care facilities, despite the fact that they had not been abusive to staff in any way).

This is a ham-fisted way of dealing with conflicts; surely it would be easier for a retirement home to sit down with an upset relative and work out whatever the problem is. Most families want only what is best for their loved one. Imagine your parent lives in a retirement home, dependent on your regular visits for companionship and support. Now imagine you run afoul of the home’s management for one reason or another – let us say you were upset about your loved one’s treatment, and you yelled at a staffer. In some cases, the retirement home might react by barring you from the premises. You couldn’t visit your aging loved one. If that seems like an extreme reaction, it is. Yet the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says it gets an average of a call a week from people slapped with a no-trespass order from a retirement home or a long-term care facility. Often, it’s because the visitor was upset at staff about a relative’s care and acted in a way the facility’s management felt was abusive, such as yelling or swearing.

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Beds, yes. But we need other approaches to long-term care, too.

The Editorial Board, The Ottawa Citizen

The wait list to get into long-term care will go up over the next five years, despite the Ontario government’s plan to quickly add 15,000 long-term spaces. If you have an elderly relative or friend, you care about this outrageous reality – in which frail older couples are sent to different care homes after decades of marriage; families are given virtually no choice about the quality or location of the long-term home their relative goes to; people are forced to make long-term care decisions on a few days’ notice; and loved ones deteriorate as they wait months it to access this care. 

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Ailing parents kept apart for seven months – This is just so wrong …

Kelly Egan, The Ottawa Citizen

Charlie Diffin is an old basketball referee — a Hall of Famer, in fact — but is almost 90, frail and suffering from dementia. So his daughter, Donna Bertrand, is blowing the whistle and calling this foul for him, and her mother, Joan, 83.“You think of them enduring all the ups and downs of life, 64 years together, and to be treated this way? I never imagined it would be like this.” Bertrand, 58, is desperately trying to reunite her parents under one roof after a trip to the hospital in March for a relatively minor matter triggered a cascade of events that have left them apart for close to seven months. And now they’re both failing.

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My Vision for better long-term care in Ontario

Merrilee Fullerton, M.D., The Ottawa Citizen

Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata- Carleton is currently Ontario’s Minister of Long-term Care

Our most vulnerable people deserve a sense of dignity, a place to call home and to receive high-quality care. Sadly, the previous government did little to improve long-term care in Ontario. With an aging population, ensuring that our long-term care system provides Ontarians with the support they need, when they need it, is a top priority for our government. Our work has just begun. As minister of long-term care, I am working to build a system that focuses on residents and a place our province’s most vulnerable can call home. To achieve this, we need to work together to the change the way long-term care works in the province.

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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.

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