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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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https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/nursing-home-deaths

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.

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

Long-term care homes want an end to mandatory inspections

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario’s long-term care homes are pressing the Ontario government to get rid of mandatory annual inspections as part of its focus on cutting red tape. Groups that represent the province’s long-term care homes have long asked for an end to annual inspections for all long-term care homes and reducing regulations that they say place an undue burden on an already stressed sector. The head of one of two major organizations says she is optimistic the province is listening to those concerns. It is a possibility that worries Jane Meadus, staff lawyer and the institutional advocate with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly. Regulations covering long-term care homes are there for a reason — in some cases because of previous harm done to residents — said Meadus. “Inspecting long term care homes that provide care to vulnerable seniors is not red tape. It is something that is necessary.”

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https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/long-term-care-homes-want-end-to-mandatory-inspections

Windows in poor repair not inspected regularly before woman with dementia fell to her death at Carlingview Manor

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

A senior woman with dementia, who was known to be an escape risk, fell head first to her death in April after easily removing the windows in her room at Carlingview Manor, according to a damning inspection report released by the province. It took the woman less than two minutes to take the windows from their frames at the long-term care home and plummet to the ground, according to security footage. The windows, which were supposed to open no more than 15 centimetres to prevent falls, were in poor repair, not inspected regularly and routinely removed by cleaning staff, sometimes in front of residents, the report from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care found. Cleaning staff could easily take the windows out of their frames without the help of special tools, according to the report, and sometimes had difficulty putting them back in securely. After the woman’s death, every accessible slider-style window in the eight-storey building was bolted shut.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/windows-in-poor-repair-not-inspected-regularly-before-woman-with-dementia-fell-to-death-at-carlingview-manor

Woman who fell from care home window wasn’t found for an hour, son says

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Jeannette Fleury lay crumpled on the ground outside Carlingview Manor for an hour last April before officials at the long-term care home found her, according to her son. When found, the 79-year-old woman had no pulse. Luc Fleury said Friday he is angry about the death of his mother, who plummeted from her third-floor bedroom window at the Carling Avenue long-term care home on April 17. He said he’s especially angry it took so long for anyone from the home to find her. “It is supposed to be a secure floor. I know everyone is (short-staffed), but why didn’t they look more? They found her an hour later, that is what they told me.” According to a provincial investigation, security cameras captured Jeannette Fleury entering her room at 8 a.m. She was recorded falling head first to her death less than two minutes later.

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https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/woman-who-fell-from-care-home-window-wasnt-found-for-an-hour-son-sayhttps://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/woman-who-fell-from-care-home-window-wasnt-found-for-an-hour-son-say

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