In the last month we have heard of the ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in long term care homes across the country. They are bad. Half of Canadians who have died from this virus are residents of long term care homes. They represent some of the most vulnerable populations in Canada. The New York Times has reported on the sad state of affairs in Canadian care homes.
The very sad truth is that the problems which got us here have existed for a long time. The systemic underfunding, lack of oversite, lack of qualified workers, the hiring of part time low paid employees who work at several facilities to make a living rather than employing full time staff for decent wages. Poor food, mistreatment and abuse, even serial murder goes on in the homes. We have homes owned by long term criminals, staff abandoning patients to hunger and dehydration because they didn’t feel safe at work. If you haven’t read the New York Times article then it is hair raising to say the least. Please do.
Now on the weekend news came that the Ontario Nurses Association has filed injunctions against several long term care homes for failing to enact proper safety measures for staff and residents in light of COVID-19. The outbreak has been going on for some time now, the lock down has been on for a month, and yet the situation at the care homes seems to be getting worse rather than better. Many of those who could leave have been removed from homes by their families but the most fragile had to stay.
The outbreak of COVID-19 and the resulting unacceptably high death tolls speak to many systemic problems brought on by many successive governments, bureaucrats, and policy makers in an attempt to save money and ‘streamline’ systems. Clearly the efforts are a failure.