Manitoba·CBC Investigates

March inspection of Parkview Place finds cockroaches, dirty toilets, grease-laden dust in kitchen

The most recent provincial inspection of the personal care home at the centre of Manitoba’s deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 found big concerns with cleanliness and infection control including evidence of cockroaches and filthy washrooms that smelled of urine.

Care home passed licensing inspection, but review highlighted repair, cleanliness, sanitation issues

An outbreak of COVID-19 at the Parkview Place personal care home in Winnipeg has been linked to nine deaths. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

The most recent provincial inspection of the personal care home at the centre of Manitoba's deadliest outbreak of COVID-19 found big concerns with cleanliness and infection control, including evidence of cockroaches and filthy washrooms that smelled of urine.

While the review found Parkview Place personal care home met every standard and passed its licensing inspection, it issued a separate notice to highlight significant issues with the "state of repair, cleanliness and sanitation practices."

The latest report, disclosed to CBC News by Revera — the private for-profit company that owns the home  — found similar problems uncovered in a surprise inspection of Parkview Place performed by provincial licensing officials in 2017.

As reported last week, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) — which provides funding to Parkview Place and ensures "continuous quality improvement and consistency of care" — had not sent a single staff member into the home since March

Instead, it's conducting daily phone calls and virtual communication with staff on site to go over outbreak measures, a WRHA spokesperson said.

"That's ridiculous," says Bonnie Ross, whose 76-year-old mother-in-law lives in the facility. 

WATCH | Inspection of Parkview Place raises concern:

Inspection of care home finds cockroaches, dirty toilets and sanitation issues

2 years ago
Duration 2:10
The last inspection report at Parkview Place long term care home in Winnipeg raises significant concerns about cleanliness and infection control.

As of Friday, 94 residents and staff have contracted COVID-19 since mid-September, according to Revera. The province announced the home's tenth death on Monday afternoon. 

Daughter of resident calls for WRHA visits

Ross thinks the WRHA should send staff to investigate what is really going on inside. 

"They should be making regular visits to all care homes — even before COVID," Ross said.

"This particular care home as well has always had cockroaches ... it has never been a top facility."

Ross said she places no blame on the staff at Parkview Place. She said Revera and the government need to address the shortage of staffing, with so many workers off sick and isolating due to COVID-19.

The report, based on an inspection performed just days before the pandemic was declared, described lapses that can result in infection.

"There are numerous locations throughout the facility in need of repair to mitigate infection control and safety risks," stated the report from the personal care home standards review team. 

"Action must be taken to mitigate these issues," reads the report. 

Revera responds

"Revera is pleased that the hard work of the Parkview Place team was recognized by meeting all 12 of the standards in the province's review," wrote Larry Roberts, director of communications for Revera. 

Roberts says Revera has contracts with major exterminating companies that they engage immediately upon reports of any kind of pest.

Paul Turenne, spokesperson for the WRHA, said Revera has until December 2020 to address the issues found in the inspection. A contractor was hired in August to conduct an assessment of needed repairs, including looking at pest control. 

He said the climbing infection numbers this fall has made it difficult to send anyone into the nursing home to follow up on the assessment.

A Parkview Place worker monitors the front door of the long-term care facility. Ninety-four residents and staff have been infected with COVID-19 since the outbreak was declared in mid-September. (Lyzaville Sale/CBC)

Inspection findings

The March 9 and 10 biennial inspection of Parkview looked at 12 preset standards, including use of restraints, pharmacy services and disaster management.

It passed every single standard review. 

It was under the safety and security standards section that reviewers noted infection control issues. 

They found:

  • Numerous washrooms in need of attention in their flooring, undersized toilets and a strong smell of urine.
  • Cockroach issues dating back to 2018, based on a review of exterminator reports.
  • Outstanding repairs recommended to prevent insects from getting into the kitchen were not completed.
  • High surfaces in kitchen including top of range hood over cook stoves found to have very heavy grease-laden dust.
  • Numerous cracks, gaps and missing baseboards which provided a collection point for dirt.
  • Damaged drywall.
  • A need for "greater attention to high-level cleaning is required."

The inspectors wrote that an addendum was attached to the report that "further detailed" the issues, but the attachment was not provided to CBC. 

Health Minister Cameron Friesen said on Friday the outbreak at Parkview is a "serious issue" but has faith that officials hired by Revera will be able to control its spread.

"Everyone is working very, very hard at Parkview Place," he said, adding there is a doctor on site and a WRHA response team assisting Revera management over the phone.

"We have confidence that right now those steps are being taken and there is oversight."

In June, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen told CBC his government is working on a system to make care home inspection reports available to the public. To date, that has not occurred, reports still must be accessed through access to information legislation. (CBC)

Problems at Parkview predate pandemic

A 2017 unannounced inspection report — which was performed in addition to the standard reviews conducted every two years — documented previous lapses in housekeeping and infection control at the care home. 

The report revealed filthy conditions including a feces-stained bedspread on a made bed, a urine-splattered toilet that stunk up a resident's room and thick dust and dirt in high-up areas, according to documents obtained by CBC through access to information legislation.

Just like in 2020, the 2017 report noted urine odour and dust accumulation in areas — such as shelves and baseboards — that were no longer intact, which causes dirt to be trapped.

"Regular cleaning and maintenance appears to have been neglected over several months," wrote the authors of the 2017 report. 

Personal care home inspections in Manitoba were temporarily halted between March and July because of the pandemic. Some were conducted off-site but the majority were done in person, wrote a spokesperson for Manitoba's health department.

So far, 98 reviews of personal care homes have been completed — which is the highest number of reviews completed in recent years, according to the health department. 

Friesen has previously told CBC his government is working on a system to make these inspection reports available to the public. 

Friesen was asked twice last week if he would commit to releasing these inspections to the public, and in both instances he did not answer.

"I don't know the frequency in which inspection reports are tabled or publicized," Friesen said last Thursday after question period.

As for the latest Parkview Place inspection report, Friesen says its findings point to the thoroughness of the inspections by the WHRA and Manitoba's health department. 

"Even during these pandemic conditions, the department continues to receive facility action plans and progress reports on recent reviews, and follows up to ensure the action plan is implemented." 

He says the province will continue to work with Parkview to ensure they are providing high-quality of care to residents.

If you have a tip about personal care homes, click here to contact Jill Coubrough.

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