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Senior abuse up 148%.

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Staff-to-resident abuse in long-term care homes up 148% from 2011

“Die, die you bitch. You’ve got to die now.”
The words were spoken to a disabled woman, 86, by the personal support worker (PSW) who had been caring for her for years. Viola cannot move or speak due to a traumatic brain injury, but she can understand.

The City of Ottawa says the PSW involved in the incident was fired, along with two other staff members who witnessed the abuse and failed to report it.

A year-long CBC Marketplace investigation reveals this case is not isolated.
Marketplace compiled six years of data from Ontario’s long-term care facilities, including critical incidents involving abuse and neglect that each home reports to the government. The number of incidents was compared with the number of licensed beds in each home to calculate a rate of abuse.

The investigation reveals that staff-to-resident abuse increased 148 per cent from 2011 to 2016, the most recently available data.
In 2016, there were 2,198 reported incidents of staff-on-resident abuse. This means, on average, that six seniors at long-term care homes in Ontario are abused every day.

Daniel Nassrallah is a lawyer who is now representing the daughter of the disabled woman in her fight against her mother’s long-term care home. Nassrallah had installed a camera in the room of his own 89-year-old grandfather, Georges Karam, at the Garry J. Armstrong Home in Ottawa after he noticed bruises and lesions on his grandfather’s body.

‘Every time we’d ask for an explanation from the facility, we would be told that there was no documentation.’- Daniel Nassrallah, lawyer

The camera caught a PSW punching Karam 11 times in the face while he lay in his bed.

Jane Meadus, a lawyer and institutional advocate with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly says family members come to her with abuse reports all the time.

“We hear stories of people being illegally detained, of being left in bed for days, filthy conditions, cockroaches, assault,” says Meadus.

The City of Ottawa has developed a “continuous improvement plan” in response to their incidents last year. The plan includes abuse-prevention training, updating residents’ care plans, upgrading technology, and the launch of a third-party review of its long-term care services to provide recommendations aimed specifically at preventing incidents of abuse.
The report is expected to be presented to city council by April of this year.
Adapted CBC News 18/01/18

COMMENT: the report states that abusive workers were fired. It does not tell us that in any way they were held accountable. The reality is that they moved on to another care facility giving the same unacceptable, abusive level of care.

Why were charges not laid against these workers? Why was the criminal code not applied? The reality is that seniors do not have the protection of the law.
Certainly if an animal had been abused, charges would be laid.

All the rhetoric, the hand ringing, the abuse prevention training, upgrading technology will not deal with this troubling level of violence and neglect.

Until there is accountability, nothing will change. We are aware of the mistreatment of the vulnerable elderly, dating back to the 70s.
It’s finally time to get serious about this shameful, societal blight.
It’s time to put a stop to elder abuse.