Monday, February 13, 2012

Nursing home neglect

A private nursing home chain enforced such strict rations on diapers that staff wrapped residents in towels and plastic garbage bags to keep their beds dry.
A resident at a Bradford home who was prone to falls was left alone on a toilet. The resident fell and sustained a head injury.
Residents in a Hamilton home had untreated bedsores and were famished from lack of food.
An elderly woman with a broken thighbone in a Pickering nursing home suffered for days without treatment.
A Brantford home was so short staffed that residents frequently missed their weekly baths.
Eight years after an Ontario government promise to revolutionize nursing home care, the elderly are still suffering neglect and abuse.
Responding to Thursday’s front page Toronto Star story on the rape of one senior in a home, allegedly by a male nurse, Health minister Deb Matthews has called an emergency meeting at her office with nursing home leaders Friday to find out what is going wrong in the publicly funded system.
“I need to have a very, very serious conversation with them,” Matthews said.
“(Homes) have a duty to report (assaults and abuse.) I need to know they are following the law. We have zero tolerance for homes that break the rules.”
The Star’s investigation draws from material uncovered by a new inspection system created by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in July 2010. It has since investigated 2,993 complaints and critical incidents, like broken bones or assaults.
We analyzed more than 1,500 of those inspection reports and found at least 350 cases of neglect where residents were left in soaking diapers, suffered untreated injuries, bedsores, dehydration, weight loss or were put at risk from outdated care plans that ignored changing medical needs. Other reports, scrutinized for Thursday’s story, focused on abuse.
Today the Star probes the issue of neglectful treatment of home residents.
The reports reveal that many families have no idea what their loved ones are subjected to. Inspectors found that some homes do not disclose problems to the ministry or police.
For example, Hallowell House in Picton, owned by the private chain Revera Long Term Care, did not immediately notify families of four residents to say their loved ones had suffered “neglect related to their continence care,” according to a ministry report from a September 2010 inspection.
The neglect stemmed from a staff member who skipped a room during rounds, Janet Ko, Revera’s vice president of communications, said in an email.

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