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What we know about the Ontario long-term care homes in the military's scathing report

Here's what we know about the long-term care homes listed in the Canadian Armed Forces report, what's been happening there, and what management says is being done to fix the situation.

CAF revealed improper equipment use, bug infestation, rotten food and a lack of cleanliness

Five Ontario long-term care homes are mentioned in a scathing Canadian Armed Forces report that was released Tuesday. (CBC)

News of deplorable conditions inside some of Ontario's long-term care homes continued to rock the province Wednesday, with Premier Doug Ford announcing the government would take over administrative control of four of the five homes mentioned in a shocking military report released yesterday.

Here's what we know about those homes, what's been happening there, and what management says is being done to fix the situation.

Eatonville Care Centre, Etobicoke

Owner: Rykka Care Centres

COVID-19 toll: 247 beds, 42 resident deaths.

CAF report notes:

  • COVID-19-positive residents allowed to wander, meaning anyone in the facility is at risk of being exposed.
  • Reusing supplies even after sterility has been "obviously compromised" — like a catheter being pulled out and left on the floor for an "undetermined amount of time."
  • No consistent safety checks.
  • A "general culture of fear to use supplies because they cost money."
  • Expired medication, with much of the ward stock "months out of date."
  • "Aggressive behaviour," including not stopping or slowing when a resident complained of pain, pulling residents, and degrading or inappropriate comments directed at residents.

In a statement, Eatonville executive director Evelyn MacDonald noted 104 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed among the facility's staff, while other workers did not come to work "due to personal health reasons.

"Those who remained were overwhelmed by the pressures brought on by COVID-19. This shortage of staff was a significant challenge," she said.

MacDonald said 129 residents and 89 staff are now considered recovered, with active cases at 11 for residents and 17 among staff.

"We strive to provide a healthy home for our residents and a fulfilling workplace for our staff," she said.

"We are committed to work alongside the Government of Ontario to find solutions to the ongoing challenges within our long-term care system that have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic."

WATCH | Marissa Lennox of CARP says the system has long been broken:

CARP Chief Policy Officer, Marissa Lennox, says long-term care is something people don't want to think about, and that the system has long been broken. 10:08

Hawthorne Place Care Centre in North York

Owner: Rykka Care Centres

COVID-19 toll: 269 beds, 43 resident deaths.

Report notes:

  • Numerous fans blowing in hallways, increasing the spread of COVID-19.
  • A "significant deterioration of cleanliness standards," and "significant gross fecal contamination" in "numerous patient rooms."
  • Personal protective equipment (PPE) breakdown, with a near 100 per cent contamination rate for equipment, patients and the facility, as well as non-disinfected equipment being used on both COVID-positive and negative patients.
  • "Forceful feeding" causing audible choking.
  • Patients seen crying for help, but staff not responding for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
  • Residents not being bathed for several weeks.
  • Personal support workers leaving food on a table where patients can't reach it, causing them to miss meals or not be fed for hours.

In a statement, executive director Gale Coburn called COVID-19 the most difficult challenge the facility has ever faced.

Within days of an outbreak being confirmed at the home, she said, over 100 employees were forced to isolate because of COVID-19 infections or symptoms. Others didn't feel comfortable going to work, she said.

"The remaining staff who came to the home each day to provide care were faced with reduced staffing levels and an increased number of residents requiring their care. Our home along with our staff were overwhelmed."

The home has now "turned the corner," she said, with all residents now testing negative, and 32 employees having recovered and returning to work.

"We have been transparent and engaged in daily conversations with the CAF from day one and we take the observations outlined in [Tuesday's] report very seriously," she said.

Orchard Villa in Pickering

A bench decorated with flowers and signs is pictured outside of Orchard Villa Retirement Residence. (Carlos Osorio/Reuters)

Owner: Southbridge Care Homes

COVID-19 toll: 233 beds, 77 resident deaths

Report notes:

  • Cockroaches and flies present, with rotten food found in a patient's room.
  • Inappropriate PPE noted at all staffing levels.
  • A high risk of choking because residents aren't sat up before getting food or medication, with one incident "that appeared to have contributed in patient death."
  • No accountability for staff when it came to upholding basic care needs.

In a statement, the Lakeridge Health Sytem said Orchard Villa had been managing an outbreak for almost two weeks before a team from Lakeridge was brought in to support the facility.

Lakeridge took "immediate actions," according to the statement, including adding dozens of frontline workers, doing a deep cleaning, helping with infection prevention and control and training staff on PPE use.

"Together, we have made strides at process improvement, education and re-education to manage the outbreak and put the supports in place to provide the best possible care to residents," the statement reads.

Altamont Care Community in Scarborough

Owner: Sienna Living Company

COVID-19 toll: 159 beds, 52 resident deaths, one staff death.

Report notes:

  • Inadequate nutrition with most residents not getting three meals a day.
  • A significant number of residents with pressure ulcers, with several residents having been in bed for several weeks.
  • A "disturbing letter" from a non-verbal resident alleging neglect and abuse by a PSW.
  • Insufficient wound care material and supplies available.
  • Significant staffing concerns, often with no PSW on site after 2:30 p.m., and only the basic daily care available.
  • Regular arguments between staff observed.

Sienna spokesperson Natalie Gokchenian said in a statement that the organization is "deeply saddened by the impact the pandemic is having on long-term care homes.

"Our commitment to our residents, their families, and our team members is to making sure the issues identified by the Canadian Forces are all dealt with immediately and permanently," she said.

Gokchenian said staffing levels have been increased, and the infection curve in the facility has been flattened, on top of the implementation of additional measures to care for and protect residents and staff.

"To deliver the level of care that our seniors deserve, the staffing challenges we face in the long-term care sector must be addressed. We are committed to working with the government, and our health system partners, to solve this urgent issue."

An independent commission into the state of Ontario's long-term care homes will begin in July. (CBC)

Grace Manor in Brampton

Owner: Holland Christian Homes, non-profit

COVID-19 toll: 120 beds, 11 deaths, one staff death.

Report notes:

  • Staff moving from the COVID-19-positive unit to other units without changing contaminated PPE.
  • Concerns about staff leaving food in a resident's mouth while they're sleeping, and not assisting residents during meals — to the point that staff would rather note that a resident refused to eat, rather than helping them.
  • Reports of "aggressively repositioning a resident."
Ontario Minister of Long Term Care Merrilee Fullerton listens as Premier Doug Ford takes a question during a daily briefing at Queen's Park. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

In a statement, Grace Manor management thanked the CAF for its help.

"We will be forever thankful for their like-minded dedication to our residents, sense of humanity and compassion, professionalism and noted expertise. Their efforts, along with those of our staff, volunteers and health system partners have been nothing less than heroic," the statement reads.

Changes have been made based on the report's findings, the organization said, while also noting that the facility "has stabilized to the point where the military recommended they withdraw from Grace Manor in order to be redeployed to situations considered more critical."

The military's last shift there was on Monday evening, the statement says.

About the Author

Adam Carter

Reporter

Adam Carter is a Newfoundlander who now calls Toronto home. He enjoys a good story and playing loud music. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamCarterCBC or drop him an email at adam.carter@cbc.ca.

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