Thunder Bay

Report confirms staffing shortages, ignored infection control increased COVID-19 risk at Southbridge Roseview

A provincial inspection report released Thursday has confirmed the concerns of families and residents of the Southbridge Roseview long-term care home: that staffing shortages, an inability to manage wandering residents and inconsistent adherence to infection control procedures likely contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the home.

The long-term care home in Thunder Bay, Ont. has been battling a deadly COVID outbreak since mid-November

A provincial inspection report of the Southbridge Roseview long-term care home in Thunder Bay, Ont. confirmed that staffing shortages and staff not following infection control practices increased the risk of COVID-19 transmission at the facility. (Matt Vis/CBC)

A provincial inspection report released Thursday has confirmed the concerns of families and residents of the Southbridge Roseview long-term care home: that staffing shortages, an inability to manage wandering residents and inconsistent adherence to infection control procedures likely contributed to the spread of COVID-19 in the home.

An inspector with the Ministry of Long-Term Care spent four days inside Southbridge Roseview at the beginning of December after a number of complaints were filed with the ministry regarding "resident care concerns, unmanaged wandering residents, insufficient staffing, and infection prevention and control (IPAC) concerns."

And the report, completed on December 17, confirmed that each of those issues were present in the facility.

The outbreak of COVID-19 was first declared at Southbridge Roseview on November 17 after one staff member tested positive for the respiratory disease. But cases of COVID-19 among both staff and residents quickly ballooned, with the outbreak leading to the deaths of 20 residents thus far.

Staff observed not wearing PPE in resident rooms

Among the report's findings were observations of personal protective equipment (PPE) "being worn incorrectly, PPE not being worn into resident rooms, and wearing the same PPE into multiple resident rooms," as well as "missed hand hygiene" and "physical distancing not being maintained."

Interviews with PSWs and nurses also indicated several staff members felt their workload had increased given the additional protocols to be followed, and that there were not enough staff "to sufficiently manage the care needs of residents following the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak."

Southbridge acknowledged in the report that there were "issues" with the quality of the care that residents received at the beginning of the outbreak, and that "a shortage of housekeeping staff…had lead to deficiencies in the home's ability to properly clean and disinfect the home."

Province issues compliance order to Southbridge

Following the inspection report, the ministry issued three written notifications of non-compliance with requirements under provincial legislation:

  • Southbridge failed to ensure all staff participated in the implementation of the infection prevention and control program.
  • The home failed to provide sufficient nursing and personal support services to meed the needs of residents.
  • There was a failure to ensure that the home, furnishings and equipment are kept sanitary and in a safe condition, and that all resident's bedding and personal clothing was collected, cleaned and delivered.

The province also issued one compliance order, compelling Southbridge to daily documented audits of all staff to make sure everyone is following protocols around hand washing, PPE, physical distancing, staff breakrooms and housekeeping.

The daily audits must continue "until a minimum of 95 percent overall compliance has been achieved for 30 consecutive days."

Southbridge was also requested to complete written plans to ensure that the home is kept clean and sanitary and that sufficient personal support services were provided to meet the needs of residents at the home.

Southbridge says home now has some of highest levels of medical support in province

In a written statement to CBC, Southbridge Roseview executive director Joanna Lent acknowledged that "at the beginning of the outbreak, staffing was a challenge due to staff becoming ill."

Lent added that their "hiring efforts resulted in the onboarding of 55 new Personal Support Workers, and more than 20 new registered staff as temporary additional support," and said that currently the "home has some of the highest levels of medical support in the province."

The statement also said the home is completing ongoing education on proper PPE use, and that they have "hired an IPAC Specialist, who has been at the home since December 26, and is responsible for assessing our IPAC procedures and practices…[and] providing recommendations and interventions if enhancements are needed."

 

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