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“They are stressed out”
Long-term care staff fear underfunding could lead to tragedy

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Staff working overnight at long-term care homes fear chronic underfunding will lead to tragedy, say members of the union that represents the workers. “They are stressed out,” said Louis Rodrigues, first vice-president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions. “In the nighttime, they are worried that if there was a fire or something, they couldn’t evacuate those patients, given the number of staff.” Registered practical nurses and personal support workers, who do the bulk of the work in long-term care, have long complained they are unable to provide adequate care or spend enough time with residents, given staffing levels. Many also say the situation is not safe. In some homes, as many as 40-50 patients, most with dementia and mobility issues, are under the direct care of one staff member overnight. There are no mandated staffing levels in long-term care, but the Ontario government has committed to an increase — up to four hours per patient, a level long recommended in the province. But staff, union and opposition members say that promise is less than it appears and does not go far enough. It would not happen right away and union officials argue the province’s numbers do not add up.

Read the rest here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/they-are-stressed-out-long-term-care-staff-fear-underfunding-could-lead-to-tragedy

Québec sets rules for use of surveillance cameras in long-term care homes

Blair Crawford, The Ottawa Citizen

Québec unveiled new rules Tuesday governing the use of surveillance cameras in the province’s long-term care facilities and an advocate for Ontario’s elderly says the Ontario government should consider doing the same. The new Québec rules, which come into effect on March 7, give the green light for long-term care residents to install cameras or use smart phones for video surveillance, with or without permission from the institution itself. But the cameras can only be used to monitor the resident’s well-being and must not be used to spy on roommates or others. The Québec regulations make the rules clear for everyone on a subject that Canadian law is otherwise largely silent on, said Jane Meadus, a lawyer with Toronto-based Advocacy Centre for the Elderlym (ACE). “It would be very helpful. We certainly see that things are all over the map,” Meadus said. “We’ve had people (in Ontario) who were told by homes, ‘You can’t use (cameras)’, and I think the Québec government has decided to clarify that. They said, ‘Yes, you have the right and these are the situations.’ They gave it some parameters and that’s a good thing.”

Read the rest here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/quebec-regulates-use-of-surveillance-cameras-in-long-term-care-homes

Nursing homes sedate residents with dementia by misusing antipsychotic drugs, report finds

Jessica Ravitz, CNN

Children complained about parents who were robbed of their personalities and turned into zombies. Residents remembered slurring their words and being unable to think or stay awake. Former administrators admitted doling out drugs without having appropriate diagnoses, securing informed consent or divulging risks. These are just some of the findings outlined in a new Human Rights Watch report, “‘They want docile:’ How Nursing Homes in the United States Overmedicate People with Dementia.” The 157-page report, released Monday, estimates that each week more than 179,000 people living in US nursing facilities are given antipsychotic medications, even though they don’t have the approved psychiatric diagnoses — like schizophrenia — to warrant use of the drugs. Most of these residents are older and have dementia, and researchers say the antipsychotic medications are administered as a cost-effective “chemical restraint” to suppress behaviors and ease the load on overwhelmed staff.

What’s revealed in this report echoes the findings of a CNN investigation published in October. The CNN story described how one little red pill, Nuedexta, was being misused and overprescribed in nursing homes. What’s more, CNN learned that this overuse benefited the drugmaker to a tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, largely at the expense of the US government. The CNN report prompted an investigation into a California-based pharmaceutical company. The Human Rights Watch report shows that concerns about overmedicating nursing home residents with inappropriate drugs extends beyond this one pill.

Read the rest here:
http://www.cnn.com/2018/02/05/health/nursing-homes-dementia-antipsychotic-drugs/index.html

Nursing home resident died after receiving 20 times the prescribed dose of pain killers

ABC 5 Eyewitness News, Minneapolis, MN

The Minnesota Department of Health claims a New Hope nursing home neglected a resident after the individual died after receiving 20 times their prescribed dose of oxycodone. According to the MDH report, North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation did not have a policy to “notify staff of changing medication orders.” The report also said the individual administering the drug failed to follow correct procedures. The report said the resident was admitted to North Ridge Health and Rehabilitation with cancer, as well as chronic pain and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. MDH said the resident had a physician order to receive liquid oxycodone for pain. The resident was supposed to receive 20 milligrams for pain rated five to seven on a 10-point scale, or 30 milligrams for pain rated eight to 10. The concentration of the oxycodone the resident was supposed to receive was changed multiple times, according to the report. On the night before the resident’s death, the individual rated their pain at a 10 on the scale. The report said the staff member administering the oxycodone gave the resident 600 milligrams, instead of the 30 milligrams. The resident was later found unresponsive on the floor of his room. The individual was pronounced dead by emergency medical service professionals. The MDH report said the staff member admitted to administering more oxycodone than prescribed. The individual said they did not verify the concentration of the dose because they were busy with other patients.

Read the rest here:
http://kstp.com/medical/north-ridge-health-and-rehabilitation-new-hope-minnesota-department-of-health-oxycodone-pain-killer-overdose/4767167/

Court upholds policy that doctors must refer patients for assisted death

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

In what is being called a “victory for patients’ rights,” an Ontario court has ruled that all doctors — including those who object for religious reasons — must refer patients for medically assisted death. The ruling on Wednesday from the Ontario Superior Court was in response to a constitutional challenge led by the Christian Medical and Dental Society and five physicians, including Ottawa’s Dr. Agnes Tanguay. The challengers, who are conscientious objectors to medical assistance in death, argued that the policy of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario forcing them to refer patients violates their charter rights. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario recognizes a physician’s right to conscientiously object to medically assisted death, but says they must “effectively refer” patients to someone who can assess the patient and perform assisted death if required. The court ruled Wednesday that the policy is not unconstitutional, saying it effectively protects patients who request medically assisted death from being abandoned by physicians who are opposed to it. The court decision is being called a victory for patients by the advocacy group Dying with Dignity Canada. “We believe the effective referral policy strikes a fair, sensible balance between a physician’s right to conscience or moral objection and a patient’s right to care,” said the organization’s CEO Shanaaz Gokool. “Patients not only have a legal right to a peaceful death in Canada, but they have the right to trust that their physician will help them navigate an already confusing system.”

Read the rest here:
http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/court-upholds-policy-that-doctors-must-refer-patients-for-assisted-death

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