Nurses neglected soiled residents and reused IV equipment in Canadian nursing homes
- The Canadian Armed Forces submitted a blistering report on the conditions of Ontario-based nursing homes.
- Problems at the nursing homes included staffers who were reusing IV supplies and delays in changing soiled residents, which led to a "skin breakdown."
- Most residents in one facility reported not receiving three meals in one day.
- Ontario Premier Doug Ford described the public findings as "the most heart-wrenching report I have ever read in my entire life."
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The Canadian Armed Forces submitted a blistering report on the conditions of Ontario-based nursing homes, which included dispensing expired medication, a "culture of fear" of using personal protective equipment (PPE) "because they cost money," and patients with soiled diapers being left in their beds.
The report comes as over 6,600 Canadians have died of the coronavirus, the vast majority of whom come from the long-term care facilities. Since April, Candian service members have provided assistance to the existing staff at nursing homes. Canadian troops were deployed as part of Operation LASER, the country's military response to the coronavirus pandemic.
During a two-week observational period, the troops identified five facilities with "severe deficiencies and shortfalls" that ranged from problems with patient care and equipment.
In the Eatonville Care Center located in Etobicoke, the report found that staffers were reusing IV supplies, including a catheter that was "pulled out and on the floor for an undetermined amount of time."
Several workers at Eatonville were also deemed to be "abusive/inappropriate" in their care, examples of which included "changing incontinence product, not stopping or slowing when resident complained of pain, pulling residents ... degrading or inappropriate comments directed at residents, etc."
In the Hawthorne Place Care Center in North York, medical equipment like thermometers were not disinfected between uses, and "significant gross fecal contamination" was found in several patient rooms. A delay in changing soiled residents also led to a "skin breakdown," while other residents were found not to have been bathed for several weeks.
Most residents at the Altamont Care Community in Scarborough reported not have received three meals in a day. The report found that the issue was attributed "to significant staffing issues" at the facility.
Once Canadian forces arrived at the Altamont facility, they found many of the residents "had been bed bound for several weeks," a "significant" number of them developed pressure ulcers that are unstageable "as a result of prolonged bed rest."
Ontario Long Term Care Association CEO Donna Duncan offered her condolences and attributed the problems to a history of "systemic issues."
"Our thoughts are with affected residents, and their families, as they learn more about these circumstances today," Duncan said in a statement on Tuesday, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. "Ontario's long-term care homes have been clear about the dire situation on the frontlines of this unprecedented fight against COVID-19. The virus has exacerbated systemic issues, like the longstanding staffing challenges, as it impacts homes in varying degrees."
Ontario Premier Doug Ford described the public findings as "the most heart-wrenching report I have ever read in my entire life."
Ford claimed that he "inherited the system" but added "the buck stops with me."
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