In the last month we have heard of the ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long term care homes across the country. They are bad. Half of Canadians who have died from this virus are residents of long term care homes. They represent some of the most vulnerable populations in Canada. The New York Times has reported on the sad state of affairs in Canadian care homes.
The very sad truth is that the problems which got us here have existed for a long time. The systemic underfunding, lack of oversite, lack of qualified workers, the hiring of part time low paid employees who work at several facilities to make a living rather than employing full time staff for decent wages. Poor food, mistreatment and abuse, even serial murder goes on in the homes. We have homes owned by long term criminals, staff abandoning patients to hunger and dehydration because they didn’t feel safe at work. If you haven’t read the New York Times article then it is hair raising to say the least. Please do.
Now on the weekend news came that the Ontario Nurses Association has filed injunctions against several long term care homes for failing to enact proper safety measures for staff and residents in light of COVID-19. The outbreak has been going on for some time now, the lock down has been on for a month, and yet the situation at the care homes seems to be getting worse rather than better. Many of those who could leave have been removed from homes by their families but the most fragile had to stay.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting unacceptably high death tolls speak to many systemic problems brought on by many successive governments, bureaucrats, and policy makers in an attempt to save money and ‘streamline’ systems. Clearly the efforts are a failure.
Here is the CTV News article that outlines the latest move by employees to help safeguard residents and employees.
Ontario Nurses Association files injunctions against Anson Place, three other long term care homes
Published Saturday, April 18, 2020 7:59PM EDT
KITCHENER -- The Ontario Nurses Association has filed injunctions against Anson Place in Hagersville, two long term care homes in Toronto, and another facility in London.
The homes are being accused by the ONA of failing to enact proper safety measures for staff and residents in response to the COVID-19 outbreaks.
“We want the employers to step up to the plate,” said Vicki Mckenna of the ONA. “We want them to follow their own pandemic plans, which they did not, and to move quickly.
“It’s all about the failings to provide the registered nurses with the proper access to personal protective equipment. The homes have severely limited the ability of the registered nurses to access the N95s [respirator masks."
A spokesperson for Responsive Group Inc., the company representing Anson Place as well as Eatonville and Hawthorne in Toronto, provided a statement to CTV Kitchener.
"Each of our homes has been working very closely with their local public health units, hand in glove to ensure we are doing everything we can to protect our residents and our staff," the statement read. "We have had all the Personal Protective Equipment we have needed to follow the very specific directives from Public Health to protect staff and work to prevent further spread of the virus - at all our homes.
"We will be filing specific details by way of affidavits in the legal process."
Anson Place tells CTV Kitchener residents and staff are checked for symptoms twice daily.
Tanya Fischer says she is worried for her COVID-19 mother-in-law who lives at Anson Place.
“She has Alzheimer’s and dementia,” she said. “It’s very difficult for her to realize something is wrong with her.”
Fischer adds she’s frustrated with the facility’s lack of communication, updates, and how they’re handling the outbreak.
“You can’t call Anson Place,” she said. “Nobody answers the phone. You can leave messages and nobody will call you back.”
CTV Kitchener reached out to Henley Place in London but did not hear back.
The ONA says the hearing is confirmed for Wednesday morning.