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Health minister looks to use new powers “to fullest extent” to increase safety in Ottawa nursing homes

Drake Fenton, The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario’s health minister has instructed staff to look at how newly acquired legislative powers can be used “to their fullest extent” in order to increase “safety and well-being” in Ottawa long-term care homes. Eric Hoskins’ comments follow a series of stories by this newspaper on Ottawa long-term care homes. Since 2012, there have been 163 reported cases of resident abuse, 2,033 instances of non-compliance with provincial legislation and at least 17 deaths that led to the homes involved being cited for non-compliance, an investigation by this newspaper found. “The operators of Ontario’s long-term care homes are entrusted with the care and safety of our loved ones,” Hoskins said in a statement. “With the passing of the Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients’ Act, new enforcement tools are now available to me as minister to ensure this trust is upheld. “I have directed my staff to look at how these new tools can be applied to their fullest extent to increase the safety and well-being of long-term care residents in Ottawa and across the province.” The Strengthening Quality and Accountability for Patients’ Act, or Bill 160, was passed earlier this month. The new enforcement tools mentioned by Hoskins include giving the ministry the power to fine homes up to $100,000 for non-compliance, along with giving the ministry the ability to suspend an operator’s licence and order interim management.

Read the rest here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/health-minister-looks-to-use-new-powers-to-fullest-extent-to-increase-safety-in-ottawa-nursing-homes

City increases training on abuse prevention in long-term care homes

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Staff in Ottawa’s four city-run long-term care homes have received more training on preventing abuse after incidents earlier this year led to a rare order from the province to improve care.

Dean Lett, acting director of long-term care for the city, updated “residents, families and friends” on work that has been done in the homes to respond to the compliance order from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. That order came after a series of incidents, including the assault of Georges Karam by a personal support worker at the Garry J. Armstrong long-term care home. The assault on the elderly man who suffered from dementia and Parkinson’s disease was captured on video cameras installed by his family. The support worker, Jie Xiao, was convicted of assault. That assault, which made headlines around the world, was one of a number of issues at city long-term care homes in recent months and years. A Citizen investigation has found there were at least 163 cases of reported resident abuse, including at least 17 deaths following care that was found to fall short of provincial legislation, at Ottawa’s 27 private and not-for-profit long-term care homes since 2012. In a letter dated earlier this week, Lett said the city has also put new practices and procedures in place to do with the supervision of personal support workers and care planning.

Read the rest here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/city-increases-training-on-abuse-prevention-in-long-term-care-homes

Why long-term care reports shouldn’t hide the IDs of the dead

Tyler Dawson, The Ottawa Citizen

Those who die in unusual circumstances in long-term care homes go unnamed in official reports, unknown to anyone except those who loved them or, perhaps, those who worked with them in their final days and moments, caregivers to whom many elderly people become quite close.  But still, when they pass, these people are treated as numbers. Statistics. Little more. Their years of existence shrink to a few details in provincial inspection reports on potential broken rules or guidelines. Yet these reports contain details we should all be more aware of: In every single care home in Ottawa, there has been either sexual abuse, violence or unusual death that’s warranted a provincial inspection.  For months, the Citizen has been revealing the distressing living conditions and treatment that some people experience in long-term care in this city. Our reporting has put names and faces to some of those who have died under questionable circumstances. In contrast, the reports issued by the Ontario government are scrubbed of detail, with bureaucratic writing that deliberately obscures and distorts reality – and strips identities from the main characters. Without the bravery of families who’ve spoken out, we wouldn’t know the names of the dead. It’s part of a larger provincial trend of keeping relevant information from the public across a range of government agencies. Anonymity is “to protect the privacy of the resident,” said Ministry of Health and Long-term Care spokesman David Jensen in an email, adding that the government must keep health information private for decades, even after death. That may protect privacy, but it also shields people who work in Ontario’s 630 or so long-term care homes from full accountability. Families, under this system, are denied closure and the public is denied information, even though we all have a vested interest in how the vulnerable are cared for.

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http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/dawson-why-long-term-care-reports-shouldnt-hide-the-ids-of-the-dead

Resident-on-resident assault a shocking reality of long-term care

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

The long-term care resident was sitting in the chapel, in a wheelchair, when another resident approached and began kissing, fondling and exposing body parts. The following day in January 2015, the victim told a housekeeping aide at Résidence Saint-Louis, the Ottawa long-term care home where they both lived, about the assault. The victim (whose age and gender is not revealed in a Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care report) grasped the housekeeper’s hand and pleaded with her not to leave, because the person responsible for the assault was sitting nearby. The housekeeping assistant promised to come back, but never did. That scenario would be repeated at the Ottawa long-term care home, which is part of Bruyère Continuing Care, over the following months, as the resident with a “known history of sexual behaviours” again assaulted or attempted to assault other residents, despite internal and external investigations and reports. The resident responsible for the behaviours died at the end of 2015.

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http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/resident-on-resident-assault-a-shocking-reality-of-long-term-care

Health ministry falls short on long-term care home inspections, auditor general reports

Dana Hatherly, Drake Fenton, The Ottawa Citizen

Many of the auditor general’s recommendations on long-term care have yet to be implemented or improved.  As problems with the province’s long-term care system came into sharper focus this year, the government was still grappling with how to fix numerous issues with home inspections that were identified by Ontario’s auditor general in 2015. The province was given a laundry list of recommendations on how to improve its inspection process of long-term care homes in a 2015 report by Bonnie Lysyk, the province’s auditor general. And while the government has made multiple fixes, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has made “little to no progress” on eight recommendations, a recent follow-up report by the auditor general found. 

Read the rest here:

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/health-ministry-falls-short-on-long-term-care-home-inspections-auditor-general-reports

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