Ontario's Long-Term Care Homes Are Not Ready To Protect their Residents in Wave 2 of COVID-19
With wave two of the COVID-19 pandemic underway in Canada, nursing homes are warning that they are not equipped to handle it. The Globe and Mail reported last week that, ‘urgent government intervention is required to ensure the safety of residents and staff.
In a letter to Premier Doug Ford and the Ministers of Health and Long-Term Care, a coalition of major stakeholders said that the sector had informed the government of significant vulnerabilities back in June. At the time, the sector asked the province for help addressing staffing shortages and infection prevention and control deficiencies among other things – but nothing has been done.
“We need to say plainly and directly that the government of Ontario has not yet put the necessary supports and preventative measures into place that we in the sector have long made clear are essential to protecting our residents [and] staff,” stated the letter, which was delivered to the Premier late Monday afternoon”.
The first wave of the pandemic resulted in a very lage proportion of deaths occurring in long term care facilities to due lack of protocols, lack of adherence to protocols, accusations of negligence, lack of PPE, lack of use of PPE when it was available, lack of staffing, and poor management. It is very concerning that these issues have not been addressed in the last several months.
A report prepared three months ago revealing that the province failed to act on warnings that the homes lacked even basic resources to combat COVI-19 and keep residents safe has not been acted on yet, and blame is being placed on a lock of funding from the province. 1800 residents of long-term care homes have died of COVID-19 so far in the pandemic.
Have you lost a loved one in a nursing home or long-term care facility?
Placing a parent into a nursing home is an extremely difficult decision for any family. However, there are concerns for your parent’s safety living on their own. After consideration, you have decided that your parent should be placed into a nursing home. Your hope is that the nursing home will provide your parent with a safe place to live comfortably during their final years. You hope they will receive competent health care, that their medical needs will be properly attended to, that they will be able to socialize, have good dinners and be comfortable.
That can all be shattered when you learn that your parent has been subject to poor care or to some abusive behaviour that has hurt them. Your vulnerable parent is a victim within the very home that you entrusted to provide proper care and treatment for your parent.
Nursing home fatality claims are complicated. There are a number of issues that need to be assessed in order to determine issues like the type of care that was or was not provided; were standards of care met; if there was a breach in the standard of care did that breach result in the premature death of your parent. Signs of abuse and neglect are bedsores that are untreated or improperly treated; weight loss due to malnutrition; poor personal hygiene; unsanitary living conditions; lack of proper supervision and medication.
The care provided at a nursing home can be a strain for the facility at times. This has led to poor situations involving clients and that poor care has contributed to fatalities. The onset of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic has made some nursing home circumstances particularly dangerous for clients. Could the fatal outcomes have been avoided? Possibly. In order to answer that question it will require an investigation and legal assessment of the actions by the potentially at fault parties and whether those actions, or lack of actions, were improper, unreasonable, reckless and contributed to the passing of your parent.
In order to determine whether a Nursing Home fatality claim is viable, it will require a thorough review of medical and nursing home records to try and assess the treatment provided and the cause of death. This may require the assistance of a medical expert to assess the treatment provided by the nursing home and to assess the cause of death. Damages in a viable Nursing Home fatality claim cover a wide range including pain and suffering for the deceased, family law act claims for family members of the deceased, aggravated damages for the mental harm inflicted on family members, punitive damages to punish the reckless conduct that resulted in the disregard for the care and life of your parent and the failure of the nursing home to fulfill their contractual duty to your parent.
There is lot of work involved in order to investigate a claim. The first step though is to contact one of our personal injury lawyers to review the circumstances of your parent’s matter and provide you with an opinion on the validity of your family’s claim.