Disturbing new report reveals horrific conditions of long-term care homes in Ontario
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) released a report today detailing the living conditions in five Ontario long-term care homes at which the military has been assisting throughout the pandemic, and Premier Doug Ford called the findings "heartbreaking" and "horrific."
The report includes countless examples of dangerous, unsanitary and outright inhumane conditions present in LTC homes such as cockroach infestations, residents not being bathed for weeks on end, medical supplies being reused even if sterility is compromised, the use of expired meds, patients crying out for help for hours without being attended to and more.
Military members also witnessed COVID-19 patients being allowed to wander around facilities freely.
#BREAKING - Extremely damning report by the military regarding several long-term care homes in Ontario.— Richard Southern (@richard680news) May 26, 2020
- Cockroach infestations
- Patients cry for help, staff don’t respond
- Residents not bathed for weeks
- Residents forcefully fed
- Covid patients allowed to wander pic.twitter.com/biBqIOBXSs
"It's shocking this can happen in Canada," Ford said of the damning report during his daily press briefing Tuesday afternoon. "Reading these reports is the hardest thing I've done as premier."
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the untenable living conditions in many of the province's LTC homes have been brought to light, prompting some to call for the abolishment of for-profit homes (they've been hit the hardest by COVID-19) and an overhaul of the entire system (something Ford has pledged to do) in order to ensure proper standards of care.
This is also what led the Ontario government to formally request assistance from the federal government in the form of the CAF back in April in order to support five long-term care homes that were in crisis.
Reminder, here is where the CAF is working in Ontario (h/t @tylerbuist):— Vassy Kapelos (@VassyKapelos) May 26, 2020
Orchard Villa in Pickering
Altamont Care Community in Scarborough
Eatonville in Etobicoke
Hawthorne Place in North York
Holland Christian Homes' Grace Manor in Brampton
"These homes were amongst the hardest hit in Ontario with COVID-19 outbreaks and had significant challenges that could not be rectified through various efforts. Those challenges included: staffing, infection prevention and control, resident safety, food preparation and janitorial services," reads a release from the Ontario government.
Now, following the release of the report, the province is once again calling on the federal government and the CAF to extend their current mission for at least an additional 30 days.
The government also says it has already begun an active investigation based on the CAF report.
"To date, one death has been referred to the Office of the Chief Coroner for investigation," the government said in today's release. "In addition to continued regular inspections, the Ministry of Long-Term Care Inspections Branch will immediately investigate specific critical incidents referred to in the report."
The government also recently announced that it will be launching an independent commission into Ontario's long-term care system starting in September.
Still, the results of today's report have sent a chill across the province, with many stating they simply can't believe conditions this bad have persisted for so long.
I think the actual answer is that, for multiple reasons, the wider population didn't really care until now https://t.co/OGJ0gxSHu1— Robyn Urback (@RobynUrback) May 26, 2020
Out of Ontario's 626 long-term care homes, 150 are currently experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19. Earlier in the pandemic, a total of 190 LTC home outbreaks were reported within the province.
To date, a total of 4,892 cases of COVID-19 have been reported among residents of LTC homes in Ontario, and 1,703 cases have been confirmed among staff.
And while the number of LTC home residents that have contracted the virus represents just 18.7 per cent of all cases in Ontario, COVID-19-related deaths among residents make up 62.9 per cent (1,335 cases) of the province's total death toll.
"The health and safety of the residents and staff in our long-term care homes is our number one priority. It is clear the long-term care system in Ontario must be fixed," said Ford in the province's release.
"The report from the Canadian Armed Forces on these five long-term care homes is extremely troubling. Our government will take immediate action to investigate the concerns raised by the Canadian Armed Forces to ensure the safety of our residents in these five long-term care homes and in homes across the province."
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