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Fear and violence in Canada's nursing homes

Canada’s nursing homes are supposed to be places where seniors go to spend the rest of their lives in security and safety. But a CBC News investigation, Beaten Down: Fear and Violence in Canada’s Nursing homes, has found that long-term care facilities can be dangerous places where residents attack residents, residents attack staff, and staff abuse residents.

But the story doesn’t end there. It gets worse. Nursing homes in provinces such as Ontario have become so violent and dangerous for staff, that ministries of labour are targeting the homes for beefed-up inspections. In British Columbia, the increasing compensation claims filed by workers being attacked by residents was becoming such a problem, that WorkSafeBC commissioned a special report to study ways to address the problem.

Nursing associations and seniors’ advocates complain about being short staffed and a lack of training. What training there is, has been deemed in many circumstances to be inadequate because it still leaves low-paid personal support workers ill-prepared to deal with a nursing home population that is older, sicker and more mentally unstable than they were even 10 years ago. This, at a time when coroners reports, special studies and a number of experts on long-term care, have warned governments that problems were in store if they didn’t take action such as increased training for workers.

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