Government Announces Steps to Prevent Abuse in Long-Term Care Homes in Halton

Published July 31, 2019 at 10:08 pm

The province is looking to improve the long-term care system following a report regarding the safety of elderly residents.

The province is looking to improve the long-term care system following a report regarding the safety of elderly residents.

Justice Gillese, the Commissioner of the Public Inquiry, recently revealed her final report of the Public Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Residents in the Long-Term Care Homes System. 

This report was made regarding the case of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, a serial-killer nurse who preyed on elderly patients in her care. The report claims that abuse in long-term care is a problem that is more common than some may believe.

“On behalf of the government, I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims and all of the impacted communities,” said Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, the Minister of Long-Term Care. “Thank you for participating in this inquiry. Words cannot replace your loss nor describe the pain you have endured throughout this ordeal and time leading up to today.”

Fullerton went on to say the government would be taking into account critical recommendations from the report, and implementing them as soon as possible.

Some key recommendations in the report included:

  • Create a strategic plan to build awareness of the health-care serial killer phenomenon.
  • Introduce permanent funding for long-term care homes for training, education, and professional development for those caring for residents.
  • Expand funding for a broader spectrum of staff, including pharmacists and pharmacy technicians.
  • Create a three-year program under which homes can apply for grants of $50,000 to $200,000, based on their size, to improve visibility and tracking of medication.
  • Refine the performance assessment program for long-term care facilities.
  • Conduct a study to determine if there’s a need for additional staffing.
  • Analyze medication-related incidents and adverse drug events, including screening for possible intentional harm.
  • Document and track the use of glucagon, a hormone that raises a person’s blood sugar, to identify patterns and trends.
  • Directors of nursing conduct unannounced spot checks on evening and night shifts, including weekends.

“I take Justice Gillese’s recommendations very seriously and together with the Attorney General, the Minister of Health, the Solicitor General, and the full support of the government, we will be comprehensively reviewing the recommendations over the coming weeks to determine next steps,” said Fullerton “Today, as recommended by Justice Gillese, we are committing to submit a report to the Ontario Legislature by July 31, 2020, on progress made on the report’s recommendations, as well as continued updates leading up to the submission.”

Fullerton also announced the government plans to provide new funding to help address the recommendations of the report. 

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