The city plans to overhaul training and procedures around abuse of residents at its long-term care homes in response to an order from the Ontario's Health Ministry to improve operations.
The blanket order was issued in July following several investigations into neglect and abuse since 2015 at three of the four homes run by the city.
The incidents include:
- The case of a resident who was punched in the head by a personal support worker.
- A man being left in a pool of blood at Garry J. Armstrong Home.
- A care worker who forced a residents hands off their walker, leaving bruises on their wrists.
- Two cases of resident on resident abuse.
The order is a serious indictment of conditions at the homes and could result in the province withholding funding, ceasing admissions or revoking the home's license to operate if issues are not addressed.
"When there are incidents and complaints we are responsible to fix them," said Dean Lett, acting director of long-term care for the city.
He unveiled a five-point plan for responding to the ministry's concerns at Thursday's community and protective services committee.
Though the province's order is only mandated at three of the city's four care homes —Peter D. Clark Centre, Centre d'Accueil Champlain, the Garry J. Armstrong Home — the improvements will also apply to Carleton Lodge.
The plan involves more in-person training to help new and existing staff identify, prevent and report abuse. The plan includes scenario-based exercises to help.
The homes will also develop a new procedure to ensure personal support workers and other non-regulated staff are better supervised by nurses.
Personal care plans must be followed
Each resident at city-run care homes are afforded a bill of rights, which includes protection from abuse.
Lett told the committee each of the city's 717 long-term care residents receive a personalized care program that must be followed 100 per cent of the time.
The province's definition of abuse includes failure to follow those care plans. To make sure they are always met, Lett said the homes are changing several protocols and improving training on the care plans.
The homes are also getting a new modernized electronic record system in the hopes of making those plans more easily available and easier to develop.
The plan was submitted to the province for approval by Sept. 15, but city staff are moving forward in the meantime.
"There's nothing that we're doing presently that the province wouldn't support us in," said Janice Burelle, the city's general manager of community and social services.
The department hopes to have all staff receive the improved training by Dec. 1.
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While the city waits for the province to approve its improvement plan, staff have organized a number of meetings with residents and their families. The purpose of the meetings is to gather feedback on how to improve the care homes from the people who live there.
So far 188 people have signed up for the closed sessions. The first session was held on Wednesday.
Burelle said suggestions for improvement that arise from those meetings will also be submitted to the province for approval