Investigation uncovers thousands of nursing home abuse incidents

Ontario is taking action to protect seniors in residential care facilities from abuse by health care providers and public agencies – unlike British Columbia, where similar incidents of institutional elder abuse are being virtually ignored by B.C.’s mainstream news media, law enforcement and legal system, health care industry, ombudsperson, NDP opposition, and the provincial government.

 

On May 16, 2012 the Long-Term Care Task Force on Resident Care and Safety in Ontario released a report explaining what actions will be taken to protect seniors in residential care facilities from abuse by staff. The Task Force was created last fall in the wake of extensive investigations by the Toronto Star newspaper. 

The Star’s team were shocked to discover that “seniors in Ontario nursing homes are beaten, neglected and even raped by the people hired to care for them,” and that “residents were hit or verbally abused by staff, or other residents. Others were given one diaper for an eight-hour shift, leaving them in urine-soaked clothes or beds.” There were more than 3,200 incidents in 2011 alone. Among the Star’s other significant findings are a failure by nursing homes to report incidents, and the preparation of “sanitized” incident reports.

 

Just to be clear, in my view this is not about more funding. It doesn’t cost more to treat a resident with respect and dignity. This is about a change in culture.” Ontario Minister of Health Deb Matthews

 

The investigation by the Toronto Star is a model of how investigations should be conducted. 

The Toronto Star series revealed far more, and achieved far more, than the B.C. Ombudsperson Office’s recent systemic Investigation into Seniors’ Care in B.C. that consumed millions of taxpayer dollars.

Incredibly, B.C. Ombudsperson Kim Carter’s investigators appear to have not encountered a single incident of institutional elder abuse in the four years during which the Ombudsperson’s Office conducted their investigation – despite scores of reports submitted in public and private submissions to Kim Carter and her Office’s investigators about abuse, bullying, neglect, assault, suspicious deaths and unlawful actions by hospital, long-term care facility and regional health authority staff. Were her (more…)

Ombudsperson replies to letters from public – are you “personally aggrieved” ?

 

Seniors at Risk has received feedback from members of the public who sent letters to government officials to express their concerns about Jean Wilder, a 60-year-old woman recovering from surgical complications, who is being held unlawfully by B.C.’s Interior Health Authority in an Invermere, B.C. care facility.

People say their letters and requests for action are being ignored or dismissed by officials and politicians. Some feel they are being actively discouraged from raising concerns.

The response from the Ombudsperson’s Office suggests that only Jean Wilder herself can complain. Requests for assistance from human rights and legal aid groups were denied, saying they are either too busy or not interested in (more…)

UPDATE – Jean Wilder still unlawfully detained in care facility

 

As reported on April 26, 2012, Jean Wilder is still being held unlawfully in an Invermere, BC care facility but letters sent by the public to government officials are beginning to have an effect.  That – and perhaps the approach of Mother’s Day this past weekend? – caused the care facility and Interior Health Authority to soften some of their earlier decisions:

  • Jean Wilder’s daughter Trina is now allowed to visit her mother without a guard present (no reasons have been given for this change).
  • Trina Wilder is also now allowed to enter Jean Wilder’s room (again, no reason given).
  • This weekend, Jean’s son and daughter-in-law, who live in BC’s Lower Mainland and only see Jean infrequently, were also permitted to visit Jean.


BUT Jean Wilder’s legal and human rights are still being ignored by the government.

Despite repeated requests by Trina Wilder and others, the care facility and Interior Health Authority refuse to permit anyone else to visit Jean — not her husband Curtis Wilder, not Marc Normand the person who holds Jean’s power of attorney, nor any friends. And, Jean Wilder is still not permitted to see a lawyer.

No reasons are given for (more…)

Public Guardian cited for fraud, abuse of seniors

In the wake of the Jean Wilder case in Invermere, BC, people have sent Seniors at Risk stories implicating the Public Guardian & Trustee of abuse of authority and fraud in managing the estates of seniors who they placed under their control, including:

  • a PGT staff member was convicted of embezzling millions of dollars of real estate and other assets from seniors for whom the PGT was appointed guardian,
  • The Public Guardian & Trustee seized the joint bank accounts of an elderly couple after the husband complained about mistreatment and neglect of his wife by care facility staff, and forced his wife to remain in an institution rather than to be cared for at home with home care, and
  • PGT staff “ransacked” the home of an elderly woman who was under the PGT’s (more…)
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