Safety review of Maples care home found improper use of PPE, WRHA says
In-depth investigation into care home to begin soon, health minister says
A safety review of the Maples Long Term Care Home found staff were not using personal protective equipment properly, among other serious concerns, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority officials said Friday.
The update comes after eight residents died within 48 hours at the north Winnipeg personal care home last weekend.
Health Minister Cameron Friesen also announced at a news conference Friday afternoon that the province has hired a former British Columbia associate deputy minister of health to lead an investigation into what happened at the care home last weekend.
The WRHA safety review found numerous serious issues that need to be addressed immediately, WRHA chief health operations officer Gina Trinidad said at a Friday morning news conference.
Those include breaches in infection control measures — most notably regarding proper use of personal protective equipment — issues with recording feeding and nutritional information, and the need to stabilize staffing, Trinidad said.
WATCH | WRHA's Gina Trinidad describes the conditions at Maples care home:
The WRHA doesn't know for sure whether the PPE issues caused the outbreak or spread COVID-19 further in the care home, she said, but there are concerns about "potential breaches."
"We don't believe that that's the sole cause of that spread. But we don't have a clear picture yet of how that spread."
Going forward, Trindinad said the health authority is working with the care home to ensure proper cleaning and replacement of PPE, and to ensure there are appropriate stations set up for staff to put on and to take off their equipment.
An official has been at the care home this week to monitor the situation there until the WRHA can ensure the safety of residents, she said.
In addition, a rapid response team has been at the care home since last weekend, and members of the Red Cross arrived there Friday, Trinidad said. The team from the Red Cross is doing an orientation and will be working at the care home Saturday, she said.
WATCH | Health authority CEO Vickie Kaminski on management of Maples Long Term Care Home going forward:
In-depth investigation to begin soon
Later in the day, Friesen said an independent investigation into the situation that unfolded at the care home will begin as early as next week, with preliminary findings to be ready in the next few weeks.
The investigation will be led by Lynn Stevenson, a former associate deputy minister in the B.C. Health Ministry and a registered nurse with a PhD.
It will look at several issues, including staffing, the level of care being provided to residents, and infectious disease control measures, Friesen said.
"What transpired at Maples is devastating and Manitobans deserve answers," he said.
"With today's announcement, we are that much closer to getting answers."
Last Friday, staff at Maples made several 911 calls just after 7 p.m., according to the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service. Two residents were dead by the time paramedics got there.
Throughout the night, paramedics treated several dehydrated residents on site and transported three to hospital. On Saturday, officials revealed eight residents had died in a matter of two days.
On Monday, WRHA officials said there were only seven of 19 scheduled health care aides and five of seven scheduled nurses working that night, contrary to what Revera, the private company that owns the care home, told them previously.
At a town hall meeting held for families of residents on Tuesday, Revera reported 45 staff members were still off sick with COVID-19, and there were 10 active cases among residents.
WATCH | Kaminski explains how the outbreak got so bad:
Outbreaks at two-thirds of Winnipeg care homes
In a statement on Friday, Revera said 125 residents at Maples have tested positive for COVID-19, including seven who are still considered active cases. A total of 32 Maples residents with COVID-19 have died.
In addition, 56 staff members at the care home have tested positive, the company said. Thirty of those cases are currently active.
The company said it continues to work with WRHA officials, including Kathleen Klaasen, who has been appointed to oversee administration at Maples.
"All staff are screened at the beginning and end of their shift and wear the appropriate personal protective equipment while in the home. Staff are cohorted to provide care for areas with residents who tested negative or positive," Revera's statement said.
"We are maintaining pandemic outbreak protocols and infection control practices."
More than two-thirds of personal care homes in Winnipeg are dealing with outbreaks of COVID-19, officials from the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority also revealed Friday.
To date, 357 personal care home residents have tested positive for COVID-19, said Vickie Kaminski, president and CEO of the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority.
While 189 have recovered, 68 have died, and 71 remain active cases, Kaminski said at a news conference Friday.
Personal care home management and staff are exhausted and resources are strained, she said during an update on how the WRHA is managing outbreaks of COVID-19 at personal care homes in the city.
With files from Erin Brohman