Long Term Care Homes are Failing Seniors – Epic Misconduct. Canadian ARMED Forces report detail mismanagement
It is incredible that it takes a simple report from the military medical services to tell governments and Canadians what we have known for years; that senior homes in Canada are offering below standard care which is borderline criminal.
While we all should have the common sense to know what the minimum health standards should be, the people running the long term care system do not. No one seems able or willing to enforce those commons standards. The Canadian ARMED Forces in a report given to Ontario and the federal governments has detailed forced feeding which has led to death, lack of training, insect infestations, rotten food, verbal and physical abuse by staff, missing (AWOL) management, fear of staff for retribution if they speak out, hygiene with unchanged diapers, ignored and abandoned patients, in fact the list goes on and on.
These conditions have been know for years. In 2018, a 95 year old veteran, Wolf Solkin started a class action lawsuit against the Quebec public system which had been negligent in meeting the needs of too many elderly veterans, for which the federal government pays extra. Mr Solkin almost died after they did not change his catheter for three months (it should be every month, minimum).
Interestingly, this is not even a battle between private or public senior care, because Quebec’s public system is doing as poorly as Ontario’s private system. A short investigative House of Commons report from 2003 found that seniors homes do not offer the quality of care expected. There similar reports in the media and in each province which all say the same thing. This is a terrible issue which can be resolved with
1. Clear standards and enforcement of those standards. If you do not do your job then you will need to pay by losing your licence or criminal charges. Doctors and nurses need to be put in charge to ensure this accountability. They can lose their medical licence to practise medicine.
2. Inspections of seniors homes. It seems that no one actually inspects these homes expect for an occasional visit by a government official every few years. You should be doing yearly visits and they should have people stay inside the home for an extended period to see what really goes on.
3. Treat seniors how you would want to be treated when you are elderly.
4. Get cameras into the rooms so families can see what the quality of care being given to their relatives looks like. Shine the light of accountability. Too many facilities ban the use of cameras because of privacy concerns for staff.
5. Increased Funding
6. Celebrate those who occupy and do this vocation.
This report is a reflection of our society that we have allowed to be created across Canada. We can do better if we demand better. Thanks to the medical personnel who wrote this report, even though they never joined the military to work in senior homes, they are risking their lives to care and protect. I had a chance to serve with a medical unit in Quebec City the 5th Field Ambulance for a few years and I can say these men and women are dedicated to helping people anywhere, anytime. They have perhaps made the most significant contribution to seniors care in Canadian history which will make life better for us all.
Dr. Robert Falcon-Ouellette, PhD
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