If you suspect a loved one or someone you know has been neglected in an Ontario Long-Term Care Home, you are not alone.
Every Long-Term Care Home resident in Ontario is guaranteed rights that every Long-Term Care Home must fully respect and promote.
Sadly, in reality these rights are often not protected.
Some of these rights include:
- the right to be treated with courtesy and respect and in a way that fully recognizes the resident’s individuality and respects the resident’s dignity.
- the right to be protected from abuse.
- the right not to be neglected by the licensee or staff.
- the right to be properly sheltered, fed, clothed, groomed and cared for in a manner consistent with his or her needs.
- the right to live in a safe and clean environment.
- the right to have his or her participation in decision-making respected.
- the right to keep and display personal possessions, pictures and furnishings in his or her room subject to safety requirements and the rights of other residents.
- the right to form friendships and relationships and to participate in the life of the long-term care home.
- the right to have his or her lifestyle and choices respected.
- the right to meet privately with his or her spouse or another person in a room that assures privacy.
- the right to share a room with another resident according to their mutual wishes, if appropriate accommodation is available.
- the right to pursue social, cultural, religious, spiritual and other interests, to develop his or her potential and to be given reasonable assistance by the licensee to pursue these interests and to develop his or her potential.
- the right to be informed in writing of any law, rule or policy affecting services provided to the resident and of the procedures for initiating complaints.
- the right to have any friend, family member, or other person of importance to the resident attend any meeting with the licensee or the staff of the home
Unfortunately, Long Term Care Homes in Ontario face unprecedented challenges today as the aging population continues to rise. Stricter eligibility requirements for admission into Long Term Care Homes also mean that the those admitted are older, weaker and more vulnerable.
58% of Long-Term Care Homes in Ontario are privately owned, and studies have shown that quality of care is inferior in most for-profit homes. This is hardly a surprise as many of these homes are operated by larger chains, and put investors before resident care needs.
According to the Ontario Long Term Care Association:
- 90% of Long-Term Care Homes residents have cognitive impairments
- 86% need assistance activities of daily living including getting in or out of bed as well as toileting; and
- 62% of Long-Term Care Home residents have musculoskeletal diseases such as arthritis and osteoporosis.
The Ontario Long Term Care Association 2019 Budget Submission states:
“Over the past decade, the profile of residents has changed to one of a population in need of more direct care. But funding has not kept pace. The investments that long-term care has been receiving have done little more than keep pace with inflation so that year-over-year increasing staffing costs have absorbed any annual funding increases.”
While the frontline workers may have the best of intentions, the reality is that most facilities are understaffed and the staff working are often overworked, over-scrutinized and overwhelmed while the health demands of vulnerable residents only continue to climb. This is a recipe for disaster.
We have already seen first-hand how the Ontario Long Term Health Care System is strained, even allowing a Healthcare Serial Killer, Elizabeth Wetlaufer to go unnoticed within our healthcare system for years until her unexpected confession to the deaths of 8 victims (that we know of).
It is sad to see more and more vulnerable Long-Term Care Home residents and their families left with no answers after horrible things happen due to neglect and abuse which can include:
- Failure to give residents timely treatment
- Failure to prevent bed sores
- Malnutrition or dehydration
- Poor care plans and implementation resulting in falls
- Failing to protect residents from violence by other residents or staff
- Medication errors
- Failure to treat medical conditions such as wounds resulting in infection
- Inadequate security or supervision of residents.
The way in which we treat our society’s most vulnerable says a lot about our society as a whole. Hopefully your loved one is getting the highest quality of care that they deserve from their Long Term Care Home. If you suspect mistreatment, neglect or abuse, you should seek out the advice of a nursing home negligence lawyer to address the situation immediately before things get worse.
At Hennick Law, we’re here to help you and have experience handling negligent nursing homes to give voices back to vulnerable residents and their frustrated families who have been silenced for far too long. Feel free to reach us through our website, or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org