Cross Country Checkup

Nursing homes: Do you trust the level of care?

The Wettlaufer inquiry in Ontario is ringing alarm bells in nursing homes across Canada. Is there adequate oversight in elder homes? Who takes responsibility for quality of care?
Elizabeth Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder for killing nursing home patients. Police now believe she committed additional attacks. (Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press)

Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: Nursing Homes

For anyone entering their golden years — or anyone who cares for an aging or ailing loved one — the evidence coming out of the Elizabeth Wettlaufer inquiry this week has been haunting.

Wettlaufer, now infamously known as the Killer Nurse, pleaded guilty a year ago to killing eight residents under her care in two Ontario nursing homes, and seriously harming six others.

The task of the inquiry is to figure out how Wettlaufer was able to give patients lethal overdoses of insulin undetected for seven years. What's emerging is an alarming picture of cover-ups that allowed a nurse with a terrible record of patient care to continue working, and even switch jobs, despite numerous red flags.

We all hope this case is just an anomaly but it's raising all kinds of tough questions about the quality of senior care in nursing homes.

Are we good at taking care of our elderly? What happens when there is a problem? Are complaints taken seriously?

We know baby boomers are getting on and beginning to require assistance in their day-to-day lives.

Yet, we have a chronic shortage of qualified caregivers.

Is the system ready for the "grey wave" that's coming? Are you?

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