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November 18, 2011

Nursing Home Residents Abused (CANADA)

Nursing home residents abused
Nov 17 2011
By Moira Welsh and Jesse McLean
Staff Reporters, The Star

Seniors in Ontario nursing homes are being beaten, neglected and even raped by the people hired to care for them, a Star investigation has found.
In one case, a helpless 71-year-old Toronto woman with advanced dementia was raped in her bed, allegedly by a male nurse identified months earlier by other staff at the home as someone who regularly disappeared on shift “without explanation.”
A staff member discovered the male nurse in Danae Chambers’ room in the middle of the night. Chambers, a renowned portrait artist, lay sideways on her bed and the male nurse, pants dropped to his knees, stood against her bare buttocks, according to a provincial inspection report.
“I trusted them to take care of her,” said Chambers’ close friend and guardian, Anna Schrofer. “I tried so hard to find the right home for her and everyone said this was the best.”
In another case, this one in a North York nursing home, a staff member first physically assaulted a resident, then warned a witness “not to tell anyone,” a provincial inspector found. Two staff members who were aware of the abuse didn’t report it.
A worker at a Port Dover home “cuffed” a resident on the head, another inspection report said.
There were at least a dozen cases in which the attacks were so serious, ministry inspectors determined the home should have immediately notified police. But the homes delayed and sometimes never bothered calling the cops — pointing to a culture of secrecy in some nursing homes
Seniors advocates agree that cases of abuse in long-term care are under-reported. According to the reports the Star obtained, more than 10 residents in Ontario each month are punched, pushed, verbally abused or sexually assaulted.
In the majority of the known cases, the abuser was a staff member. In others, the assault was resident on resident.
Eight years after Star stories documenting problems brought a provincial vow of improved care, the same problems exist.
The problems continue because the nursing home system is taking increasingly sick and demented residents but lacks the money for increased staffing levels to provide a minimum amount of daily care.
Personal support workers who do the majority of hands on work are not regulated and have little training to manage residents with complex needs.
What has changed is the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s inspection system. Just over a year ago the ministry rolled three confusing nursing home acts into one piece of legislation in response to a 2003 Star investigation.
The new inspection system — with a focus on resident complaints — is now uncovering hundreds of cases of assault and neglect.
The Star obtained more than 1,500 inspection reports carried out since the new rules began. Each inspection was done in response to either a complaint of poor care or the nursing home’s own reporting of a critical incident such as an alleged assault or broken bones from a fall.


Data analysis by Andrew Bailey


Abridged
SOURCE:      The Star, Canada
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