The Canadian Armed Forces report on the state of five long-term care homes in Ontario contains troubling allegations. The 14-page report outlines what military members who have been working at the homes since April have seen during their service and forced Canada’s Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to send a letter to the Ford government on behalf of the federal government alerting them of the drastic shortcomings in the five homes.
The allegations include residents skin breaking down because they are left too long in soiled undergarments, a prevalence of pressure ulcers because they were not being turned often enough, fecal contamination in resident’s rooms, and infestations of cockroaches and ants. The report details that some residents were not receiving three meals a day and others were being force-fed to the point of choking.
The report also says that some facilities were not disinfecting equipment between uses and some were leaving COVID-19 positive patients in rooms with non-infected residents. Also noted were multiple food trays stacked in a room leaving a notable rotten food smell out in the hallway.
The report says there is a “culture of fear” among staff about the lack of personal protective equipment and a fear of using it because of the cost. The report also continues to say that most homes are understaffed and those with new staff have not been trained and do not know where to fill out reports or find medication.
In his daily briefing Premier Doug Ford says he has asked the Prime Minister to extend the military ‘s service at the long-term care homes for another 30 days. Earlier today Justin Trudeau promised the federal government’s support for both Ontario and Quebec.
Ford was emotional at his briefing today, breaking down and often taking a sip of water while answering questions. He addressed the families of the residents in these homes, “It’s heartbreaking and it’s heart-wrenching there will be justice…it’s absolutely appalling.”
Ford announced one death has been referred to the Office of the Chief Coroner and the government has begun an active investigation based on the Forces report. The Ministry of Long-Term Care will also investigate specific incidents in the report.
Ford said these issues are not specific just to Ontario, “There have been decades of neglect we know we must do better as a province and we must do better as a country. This is not a problem unique to Ontario. It is up to us to fix these problems, it is up to us to face the hard truth that has been known for decades.”
**With files from Mo Fahim