Ontarians are very concerned with the situation in long-term care homes in the province and the complete mismanagement of COVID-19 outbreaks. The news of poorly equipped and understaffed homes resulting in mass deaths, abandonment of patients, and negligence continue to emerge from residents, their families, the unions representing the staff in the homes and from the government itself.
Locally, Forest Heights Revera Long-Term Care Home is accused of having actually created a pandemic within its facility by a union president. Forest Heights has 193 cases of the disease in patients and staff, the most cases of COVID-19 in the Region, and they account for over half of all deaths from the disease in the Region.
Staff continue to complain that the COVID-19 crisis in the home could have been averted if they had had enough PPE (personal protective equipment) at their disposal. With adequate supplies of masks, gowns, and gloves they could have helped prevent the passage of the virus from patient to patient and among the staff. The union making the complaints represents the PSWs, nurses, and RPNs at this home along with 29 other local places of work.
The union accuses the management at the home of telling PSWs not to wear N95 masks in order to avoid scaring people. Some PSWs tested positive for the virus and were instructed by the employer to report for work. The care home also should have isolated ill residents immediately.
In a press release, Forest Heights Revera said they are aware of concerns with shortages of personal protection equipment and employees working with symptoms. They have indicated that they are launching investigations into the charges to ensure “all protocols and directives are communicated to staff and implemented." They also assured the public that there are now sufficient supplies in the home and that staff have been trained in the use of the equipment.
Revera said there is now sufficient equipment and training is being provided to workers. These for-profit companies need to be held accountable.
The situation at Revera is not unique in Ontario. I wrote last week about nurses unions having to take 4 other long-term care homes to court in order to obtain access to PPE. Stories from across Ontario and across the nation have highlighted the tragedy. The government has allowed for-profit long-term care homes, and has allowed the long-term care system to operate in a negligent manner. It is an unspeakable tragedy that so many of our most cherished citizens have died as a result.
Placing a loved one into a long-term care home is an extremely difficult decision for any family and it is one not taken lightly. I have a section of my website dedicated to nursing home fatality claims.
If you have lost a loved one in long-term care to COVID-19 please accept my deepest condolences, and please contact me immediately for a free consultation and help.