6 Ontario long-term care homes did not follow COVID-19 public health advice, prosecution claims

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Long-term care residents with COVID-19 are kept in the same spaces as healthy residents.

A refusal to accept the province’s offer of a “SWAT team” of health workers to help manage an outbreak.

Staff said not to wear surgical masks as it “would scare residents.”

These are just a few of the allegations against six for-profit long-term care homes in Ontario, as indicated in a proposed class action, learned CBC News.

The trial comes amid an increasing number of deaths in long-term care, with more than 570 elderly residents killed as the new coronavirus continues to spread in more than 130 facilities housing some of the most vulnerable residents of Province.

“Premier Ford described the situation in long-term care homes and retirement homes as a” wildfire “, said Pinta Maguire, partner and head of the medical malpractice section at Tyr LLP, the law firm behind the proposed class action.

“And the crux of the claim is that it is a fire that should never have started. “

A statement filed Friday by the Superior Court of the province relates to three long-term care homes in Toronto – Eatonville Care Center, Vermont Square and Hawthorne Place Care Center – as well as Cooksville Care Center in Mississauga, Anson Place Care Center in Hagersville and Earls Court Village in London.

All homes are owned, operated or managed by for-profit retirement and long-term care provider Responsive Group Inc. or one of its subsidiaries, the statement said.

Although the claim has been filed, a judge has not yet certified the claim as a class action and the allegations have not been verified in court.

The claim alleges that the homes – where more than 70 residents died from COVID-19 – did not plan for the pandemic.

He also alleged that the establishments did not have adequate staff to deal with residents safely, did not communicate properly – or not at all – with the families of the residents, and did not comply with public health directives concerning epidemic planning, provision and access to personal protective equipment (PPE), screening procedures and testing of residents and staff.

In a statement to CBC News, Responsive Group said it “continues to work closely with government, public health units and our healthcare partners to speed up testing, initiate epidemic protocols and comply with all directives ”.

The company also noted that a court has yet to determine whether the claim merits certification as a class action.

Complaint Filed Following Judge’s Thursday Decision To Order Ontario Nurses Association Order Four Ontario Nursing Homes Associated With Reactive Group To Comply With Provincial Infection Control Standards and health.

The crux of the claim is that the COVID-19 “wildfire” that spread to long-term care homes should never have happened, says Pinta Maguire, partner at Tyr LLP and head of the medical malpractice section of the law firm. (Richard Agecoutay / CBC News)

Hawthorne Place employees said not to wear masks

At Hawthorne Place in North York, where there have been nine deaths and at least 47 cases of COVID-19, the claim alleges that workers had limited access to personal protective equipment.

Employees were limited to one robe per shift, said to return surgical masks for reuse, and said N-95 respirators were kept “locked”, the allegations continue.

According to the statement, Hawthorne staff were even ordered by a single director “not to even wear a surgical mask because it would scare residents.”

A personal support worker who currently works at Hawthorne – whose identity CBC News protects because of concerns about their job security – supported allegations that staff members have limited access to PPE.

Outside a Toronto Eatonville health center, a body wrapped in a white sheet is rolled out on a stretcher, pushed by a woman dressed from head to toe in protective gear. (Chris Mulligan / CBC)

“We are only allowed one mask for eight hours,” she said. “If you want to get another mask, you have to hope the group breaks up, or break it yourself, or just go get one.” “

The worker also said that she directly knows seven colleagues who have so far tested positive for COVID-19, and believes the actual number may be higher (her own test returned negative).

The statement alleges that in one case, residents and staff of Hawthorne Place were placed “in extreme danger” after a resident was tested for COVID-19 – and later confirmed to have respiratory disease – but was not isolated until results returned, and continued to have access to shared areas during this period.

“If we don’t feel safe, how can we make residents feel safe?” Asked the personal support worker during her interview with CBC News.

Soldiers sent to two homes for trial

Hawthorne Place is one of five long-term care homes in Ontario where soldiers were called in to provide support on Friday. And it’s not the only class action facility to get this extra help.

Canadian Armed Forces also visit Eatonville Care Center, a long-term care home in Etobicoke that is under fire for alleged deficiencies related to testing, resident care and family communications pursuit.

“In Eatonville, despite knowledge of an epidemic in the facility, residents with symptoms of COVID-19 were not tested for several days, apparently due to the lack of swab tests Says the claim.

According to the statement, a quarter of the 101 residents of Anson Place in Hagersville, Ontario, died from complications from COVID-19. (Evan Mitsui / CBC)

More than 140 Eatonville residents have officially tested positive for the virus and 37 of them have died from complications from COVID-19.

In one of these cases, the resident’s family received a call from the management of the home because the resident complained that he had been neglected, in particular that he had not been properly cleaned after getting dirty, according to claim.

The resident died later. His family claims to have discovered that he only suffered from COVID-19 when the funeral home presented them with his death certificate.

The statement also makes specific allegations about a third facility, approximately 40 kilometers southwest of Hamilton, in Hagersville, Ontario.

Anson Place declined provincial endowment offer

At Anson Place, claim alleges that “minimal PPE was provided to staff” during an epidemic, that the facility did not separate COVID-19 positive residents from healthy residents and that it was part of households experiencing a “staff crisis”.

And yet, the complaint continues, the house has not taken steps to resolve the situation.

“For example, Anson Place has received an offer from the Province of Ontario to provide a” SWAT team “of hospital workers to help manage its COVID-19 outbreak,” said the claim.

“Anson Place declined the province’s offer, saying that with its current staff, it was” comfortable that we can currently meet the care needs of our residents. “

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Premier Doug Ford condemned the move.

“Whoever makes this judgment calls, I wonder why he is even responsible for this house,” said Ford. “When you have these many deaths and many positive cases of COVID-19, why not [accept help]? ”

The allegations against Anson Place struck the son of a former resident.

When Mike McCarroll visited his dying mother in hospital late last month, he assumed the 95-year-old man was dying from natural causes – not complications from COVID-19.

“It is not even something I have considered,” McCarroll told CBC News. ” We did not know [the virus] was at Anson Place. ”

Anson Place resident Ruby McCarroll died in hospital at the age of 95 from COVID-19. Her son Mike McCarroll is now the principal plaintiff in a proposed class action involving several long-term care homes. (Submitted by Michael McCarroll)

Ruby McCarroll had lived in the facility’s retirement home for five years when she was sent to hospital on March 23. Four days later, her son was informed by a nurse that the retired teacher had tested positive for COVID-19.

Three days after the death of Ruby McCarroll.

She is one of 27 residents of Anson Place who died from the disease caused by the new coronavirus. A quarter of the house’s 101 residents died from complications from COVID-19, the statement said.

“Our family members enter these homes, we expect to receive good care for our family members,” said McCarroll. “In this case, I don’t think it is. “

McCarroll is the lead plaintiff in the proposed class action, and hopes that the trial will provide him – and the relatives of other residents – with answers on how COVID-19 was able to spread through the house.

“We can’t bring them back,” said McCarroll. “So it’s about making sure it doesn’t happen again. “


Lauren Pelley can be contacted at [email protected]

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