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Questions left unanswered after night of suffering by Wettlaufer victim

Jonathan Sher, The London Free Press

Staff at a Woodstock nursing home failed to ask key questions after the death of a non-diabetic resident who spent her last hours suffering from the most grotesque symptoms of plunging blood sugars, Ontario’s chief coroner told a public inquiry Tuesday. Helen Young, a veteran of the Second World War, spent her last night at Caressant Care moaning in pain, her eyes bulging, her words slurred, her legs and arms bent inward and her skin torn after she tried to escape her wheelchair and was restrained by staff. Her descent to death in July 2013 came after killer nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer twice injected her with large doses of insulin, each time telling Young it was pain medication. While other staff at the home would not learn of the killing spree until three years later, the way Young died should have triggered questions that were not asked, Dirk Huyer, chief coroner of Ontario, told the inquiry. “It would be worth asking more questions. . . . This is not the silent death overnight. This was a clinical change,” Huyer testified.

Read the rest here:
https://lfpress.com/news/local-news/questions-left-unanswered-after-night-of-suffering-by-wettlaufer-victim

Ontario’s chief coroner faces scrutiny at Wettlaufer inquiry

Kate Dubinski, CBC News

The province’s chief coroner says some long-term care homes are still submitting death records by fax, instead of electronically, forcing a four-year delay in his office’s planned data analysis. Dr. Dirk Huyer said his office has been ready to analyze deaths in long-term care homes since 2014, but hasn’t been able to because death records are being sent in different formats. To analyze just the electronic records would lead to incomplete and incorrect data analysis, he said. “It defeats the purpose of an analytics model of trying to identify patterns,” Huyer said. It’s unclear if such an analysis may have found a pattern of problems with patient deaths under nurse Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s care. 

Wettlaufer admitted to killing eight patients in southwestern Ontario by injecting them with massive amounts of insulin. The Wettlaufer inquiry, which resumed Monday after a two-week break, is hearing from the coroner’s office. It’s trying to determine what systemic problems led to Wettlaufer being able to get away with the murders undetected.

Read the rest here:
www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/ontario-long-term-care-inquiry-elizabeth-wettlaufer-alex-van-kralingen-1.4745402https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/ontario-long-term-care-inquiry-elizabeth-wettlaufer-alex-van-kralingen-1.4745402

“We are in crisis”: Personal support workers are the backbone of home care in Ontario and there aren’t enough of them

Joanne Laucius, The Ottawa Citizen

Richard Martin slurs when he speaks. He has difficultly walking and swallowing food. He has short-term memory loss, and dementia is inevitable. Martin has Huntington’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder. Until he was diagnosed in 2010, Martin had a busy east-end medical practice. Today, he is cared for by his wife, Melanie Dea, in their Rockland home.

Dea has watched the disease attack her husband’s mind and body. He needs constant attention and there’s only so much Dea can provide. And that’s a problem. Because even though Martin is entitled to five hours and 15 minutes of home care every week, provided by a personal support worker, help is hard to find in rural Ontario and many other parts of the province.

Home care has been touted as a way to keep people out of hospitals and long-term care. It costs less than institutional care, it’s better for patients and a life-saver for beleaguered caregivers like Dea. She relies on it, but her experience has been that her husband’s entitlement does not translate into reality. Sometimes he will get the hours he is entitled to, but more often it will be only an hour or two, she says. “There are so many PSWs who start and then they quit. Or they call in sick. I really need the break. I’m burned out,” says Dea. “It’s a full-time job. I get three hours of respite a week. What do I do? I go to the bank, to the grocery store.” Across Ontario, home care agencies are struggling to recruit and and retain personal support workers, known as PSWs. They get jobs right out of school, but many soon leave the field after they discover that the hours can be inconsistent, they are paid a dollar or two above minimum wage and they have to rush between appointments.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/when-the-backbone-is-broken

This was win-win: The Perley and Algonquin College create joint PSW Program

Joanne Laucius, The Ottawa Citizen

Valerie Little had a background in sales. She had quit work and was caring for her mother at home when a visiting personal support worker planted the seed of an idea for a mid-life career change. “You’re good at this. You should think about doing it,” the PSW urged Little. Little, 53, did think about it. In January, she was among the first graduates of a joint program between Algonquin College and the Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre, the first of its kind in Ottawa. The Perley offers the learning space for the PSW students, which includes a classroom located in a renovated dining room at the centre. The students get to be immersed in the learning experience. There’s another benefit for the Perley — in an environment where supply of PSWs does not meet demand, it has a home-gown crop of potential workers. Among its roles, the Perley offers assistance to patients in their homes, and it has assisted living apartments and long-term care services. They all require PSWs. Out of the 20 graduates, eight were hired by the Perley.

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https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/this-was-win-win-the-perley-and-algonquin-college-create-joint-psw-program

Prohibiting assisted dying does more harm than good

Wanda Morris, The National Post

Thanks to a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 2015 and subsequent federal legislation, Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) is now legal in Canada. While the legalization of assisted dying had overwhelming public support (84 per cent in favour) among both CARP members and the general public, many in palliative care, such as Nancy Macey, executive director of the Delta Hospice Society in B.C., have gone on record as saying it is undermining their ability to provide end-of-life care and want nothing to do with it.

Read the rest here:
https://nationalpost.com/health/seniors/grey-matters-prohibiting-assisted-dying-does-more-harm-than-good

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