Will this ever end?

blog feb2020The recent CBC news article regarding a female resident in an Alberta nursing home who was abused before she died from dehydration and a urinary tract infection is appalling and should never happen in our health care system in Canada. Unfortunately, abusive incidents do occur and indicate yet again that traditional medical models of care in long-term care homes need to be changed.  Read more here.

Yes, our long-term care homes need to keep residents safe and comply with regulations but if person centered care was provided where residents matter and are considered to be a member of the family rather than a person to be “cared for”, then abuse would not occur.

The CBC news report says that the nursing home reported that “there was a shortage of staff and experience” and that “employees needed better education about nutrition, hydration and monitoring infections”. Yes, staff need to have that knowledge but surely it is more than that! Staff education and training is required in order to change the culture of care from one of “giving” care to a relationship based approach with the residents.

Innovative models of long-term care that are featured in this blog will do just that.

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3 Replies to “Will this ever end?”

  1. Thanks for bringing this story to our attention. Reading the entire article, although a financial penalty for abuse is perhaps a start, your suggestion that implementation of innovative models of long term care would be a more all-inclusive solution is an excellent idea.

  2. I am not a medical professional but even I know that infirmed seniors are at high risk of bladder infections, and that dehydration can be avoided by offering water on a schedule. I am SO tired of the not enough staff excuse. It takes minutes to offer water. Sent from my Bell Samsung device over Canada’s largest network.

  3. It deeply saddens me when I read reports about the death of a person in a long-term care home due to neglect by the staff. In most of these cases, while staff does shoulder blame, the management and owners of long-term care homes escape responsibility.

    After reading the CBC article and even the report by the Acting Director of Protection for Persons in Care, there is no mention whatsoever about any possible criminal charges against any individual involved in the abuse and the organization that owns the long-term care home. In particular, I note that the recommendations of the Acting Director are all about processes and policies which are of no use if staff and management do not follow them.

    The CBC article states: “A prominent seniors’ advocate says financial penalties are the swiftest way to ensure nursing home operators keep residents safe…”. I disagree. There are provisions in provincial legislation and in the Canada’s Criminal Code that allow complaints to the police in cases of abuse and where a person is not being provided the necessities of life. The question that resonated in my mind loud and clear is: why were no complaints made to the police? The CBC article does not address this.

    I agree that a person-centered approach in long-term care homes is the goal. How will this be accomplished? The current mindset of provincial governments who provide the funding, local health management providers who manage those funds, and long long-term care home management has to change. Also, families of persons in long-term care homes need to complain and document their complaints, at the very first sign, if their loved ones are being mistreated. Many families do not do so for fear of reprisals. This mindset also has to change. My wife and I were strong advocates for our mothers when they were in long-term care homes.

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