Union calls on Prime Minister to take control of Scarborough long-term care home during pandemic

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Health workers union calls on Ontario Premier Doug Ford to take control of long-term care home in Scarborough after facility reports sharp increase in caseload COVID-19 residents in the past three weeks.

Sharleen Stewart, President of SEIU Healthcare, said the provincial government should take administrative responsibility for Extendicare Guildwood, 60 Guildwood Parkway, as the home is struggling to contain an epidemic of virus and management is affected.

“Frankly, we don’t know who’s in charge,” said Stewart in a press release on Saturday. “We have to act now. “

On May 1, Extendicare Guildwood had 10 resident and 1 staff case, but as of May 23, it had 93 resident and 25 staff cases.

There have been 27 deaths of residents at home since the pandemic started, the house said.

Nik Chandrabalan, Regional Director of Extendicare, confirmed in an email on Saturday that two members of his management team had contracted the virus.

“There are a number of Guildwood employees who were unable to come to work due to the COVID-19 epidemic, including two members of our management team,” said Chandrabalan.

“Replacement managers from other Extendicare sites have been recruited to perform their duties and we have hired 30 new employees at home. We also contacted the Scarborough Health Network, [which] provides hospital staff to help us meet the needs of our residents and maintain a safe work environment. “

Chandrabalan said the home works with partners, the Toronto Public Health and the Scarborough Health Network, to maintain a safe environment for its residents and staff.

“We know how worrying this time is for families, and we will continue to keep them informed. The families met with management and clinical leaders at home yesterday via Zoom, and future meetings are planned, “he said.

On May 1, Extendicare Guildwood had 10 resident and 1 staff case, but as of May 23, it had 93 resident and 25 staff cases. There have been 27 deaths of residents at home since the pandemic started, the house said. (Michael Charles Cole / CBC)

Gillian Sloggett, spokesperson for Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, Minister of Long-Term Care, said that the home has implemented “increasingly stringent measures” to protect residents and staff.

Sloggett said that the Ministry of Long-Term Care, the Central East Local Health Integration Network and the Scarborough Health Network all work with the home.

“We can confirm that a number of actions are taking place at home. The Scarborough health network has partnered with the home and, with the Central East LHIN, is working to recruit registered staff to provide additional staffing support, “she said.

“Public Health Ontario completed an infection prevention and control assessment this week and did not identify any concerns regarding the management of the outbreak. The home does not report a shortage of personal protective equipment, and staff use appropriate PPE when providing care to residents, “she added.

“In addition, we continue to monitor and follow the conditions at Extendicare Guildwood day and night. “

A poster outside Extendicare Guildwood in Scarborough thanks the staff. (Michael Charles Cole / CBC)

She said ministry inspectors have been in regular contact with long-term care homes across the province to ensure they are receiving support, have enough staff in place, and have an adequate supply of protective equipment. individual.

“In addition, during this pandemic, Extendicare Guildwood has an assigned support person from the Ministry of Long-Term Care who is in frequent contact to verify and ensure that they have everything they need.”

Home is one of many unions he says needs help

Steward said the union had asked the province in an open letter on May 14 to take control of several long-term care homes it considered to be in crisis, but said the government had failed to act.

These homes, where the union says its members have “lost confidence” in management, include:

  • Orchard Villa in Pickering.
  • Eatonville Health Center in Etobicoke.
  • Sienna Altamont care community in Scarborough.
  • Downsview Long Term Care in North York.
  • Sienna Camilla Community of Care in Mississauga.
  • The village of Humber Heights in Etobicoke.

In an emergency order issued on May 13, the government has given itself the power to issue a “compulsory management order” for a long-term care home experiencing an epidemic of COVID-19.

“This ordinance would support the use of quick, immediate and effective management alternatives to protect the residents and staff of a home. The culprit could be anyone, including a company or a hospital, “the government said in a press release on May 14.

The government has said that management assistance may be needed if households face challenges such as “a high number of cases among residents or staff, a high number of deaths, an epidemic that has not still been resolved, problems with control assessments. ”

The government has said it will decide which homes the order will apply on a case-by-case basis.

Stewart also called on the province to engage in a public inquiry into long-term care homes in Ontario. Long-term care homes have recorded an impressive number of deaths from COVID-19.

“Families and workers deserve real answers before a new wave of COVID-19 comes next winter,” said Stewart.

SEIU Healthcare represents more than 60,000 health and community service workers in Ontario. Members work in hospitals, home care, nursing and retirement homes and community services.

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