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Opinion: No one in the Ontario government should pretend to be surprised by long-term care conditions

Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen

The Canadian Forces report on the appalling conditions in five Ontario long-term care homes hit by COVID-19 has been met with expressions of shock and horror from the provincial government. But none of this should come as a surprise. The report makes disturbing reading, but no one in government should pretend they didn’t see this coming. Not if they’ve been paying any attention to what families have been saying over the years, and what numerous reports have documented. The tale of abuse and neglect told by the military has been the sad history of long-term care in Ontario that both Liberal and Conservative governments have ignored for years. It took the military all of 30 days to uncover the horrific conditions, but Ontario governments had decades and chose to see nothing. Premier Doug Ford is right to say he inherited a broken system, but equally true is that he did nothing to make it better. There is blame to go all around on this systemic failure, but now maybe, just maybe, the government will be shamed into real, meaningful action. The truth about this situation is that long-term care just has never been a priority for any Ontario government. When early on the pandemic took 54 lives at two seniors homes in the GTA, Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton rejected calls to take over the homes, saying her ministry doesn’t run homes. Barely a week later, Ford called in the military. A CBC investigation found that the Ford government drastically reduced inspections done in homes with only nine out of 626 homes inspected last year. Which raises the question: how can you find abuses if you don’t conduct thorough inspections?

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/adam-no-one-in-the-ontario-government-should-pretend-to-be-surprised-by-ltc-home-conditions

‘I think they are talking about my grandmother’: Ottawa woman looking for answers in Orchard Villa choking death

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Andrea Terry listened in shock to Premier Doug Ford’s emotional press conference this week about the damning military report on five Ontario long-term care homes.

When she heard that the choking death of a resident at Orchard Villa long-term care home in Pickering had been referred to the coroner for further investigation, she was certain that resident was her grandmother.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/i-think-they-are-talking-about-my-grandmother-ottawa-woman-looking-for-answers-in-orchard-villa-choking-death

Ontario Law allows families into long-term care as essential visitors but practice is seldom followed

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Ontario’s pandemic emergency legislation allows families to be admitted to long-term care homes as essential visitors — in theory. In practice, that seldom if ever happens. Families and organizations representing family caregivers have been pleading for them to be allowed back into long-term care homes and other institutions that have stopped allowing visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their absence is putting already vulnerable residents at increased risk, they say. This newspaper has spoken to more than one family who have described the physical and mental deterioration of their loved ones in long-term care after family members, who regularly cared for and fed them, were excluded. A spokesperson for the Ministry of Long Term Care confirmed Friday that emergency legislation governing long-term care homes allowed for family caregivers to be considered essential visitors and let into homes, but said the provision was simply there as guidance and long-term care homes had the discretion to do what was best to protect residents. The vast majority of COVID-19 deaths in the province have been in long-term care homes, with outbreaks in Ottawa and elsewhere killing dozens of residents in individual homes.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/ontario-law-allows-families-into-long-term-care-as-essential-visitors-but-practice-is-seldom-followed

Orchard Villa long beset by problems, families say after military report on care homes

CBC News, Toronto

June Morrison Picture

June Morrison, who lost her father George William Morrison, 95, three weeks ago, said the report is not surprising. She says: ‘I think there’s criminal act. The police investigation, once they actually go in there and see what’s actually going on and do those interviews, yes, I think you’re going to get a criminal element, definitely, on the hands of management and admin.’ (CBC)

Family members who have lost loved ones to COVID-19 say a Canadian military report on five long-term care homes in Ontario confirms what they already know about one such home because the facility had constant problems. People whose parents have died at Orchard Villa in Pickering, Ont., where 77 patients have died as of Monday, say they believe there are more homes that should be investigated.

Read the rest here:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/orchard-villa-long-term-care-home-report-canadian-military-families-1.5586083

Covid-19: Premier vows “there will be justice” after “heartbreaking” military report on LTC homes: Trudeau pledges support

Blair Crawford, The Ottawa Citizen

A shaken looking Premier Doug Ford said Ontario’s chief coroner will investigateallegations contained in a military report into the province’s long-term care homes and that criminal charges are possible.“There will be accountability. There will be justice for these residents and their families,” Ford said in a briefing at Queen’s Park.Ford said he lay awake all night after reading the “gut-wrenching” report.

Read the rest here:
https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/covid-19-ontario-case-load-climbs-by-just-287/

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