Tuesday, May 26, 2020

No, Mr. Ford. It's Not a Police Matter. It's So Much More.

So much for Doug Ford's brief stint as the caring, concerned premier of Ontario.

The province's Covid-19 response changed public opinion of the giant blonde lout. Then this.
Cockroaches, rotten food, patients with ulcers left bed-bound, staff moving from unit to unit wearing contaminated gear. 
Those are just some of the disturbing conditions detailed in a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) report made public Tuesday and based on the observations of its members at five Ontario long-term care homes deemed by the province to have required the most support.

Over 1,675 troops have been brought in to backstop five long-term care homes in Ontario and a further 25 in Quebec over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The allegations at homes — in Pickering, Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York and Brampton — paint an unsettling picture of residents being bullied, drugged and left for hours and days in soiled bedding. 
Ontario officials were notified of the report by the federal government Sunday in a memo to the solicitor general grouping the concerns into either non-adherence or non-existence of policies, inadequate resources including trained staff and medical supplies, deficiencies in care home infrastructure and concerns about standards of care. 
"It's heartbreaking, horrific, it's shocking that this can happen here in Canada. It's gut-wrenching, and reading those reports is the hardest thing I've done as premier," Ford said at a news conference Tuesday. 
"There's going to be justice. There's going to be accountability," a visibly emotional Ford told the families of loved ones in care homes. 
Speaking to reporters, Ford said Ontario has launched an investigation into the report's findings, referring one death to the coroner's office. Once a coroner's investigation is complete, he said, it will be up to police to determine if charges are in order "for neglect."
Ford's "somebody's gonna pay" approach is disgustingly disingenuous. His own government has jurisdiction over the province's nursing homes, just like the Liberal and Tory and even NDP governments that preceded Ford's.

It took Canadian soldiers to discover this? Ford's health minister didn't know? The Ford government had to be given a heads up by the feds?

As I wrote earlier today, this has been going on, to my direct knowledge, for half a century, probably a lot longer than that. How many inspectors did the Ontario government send into those dungeons? How often? How did they not find the abuse that was so obvious to our soldiers? How did those inspectors look the other way, or did they? Face it. nursing home operators only did what they were confident they would get away with. It took soldiers for gawd's sake to recoil in disgust at the rank abuse of their fellow citizens.

Yes, Ford's right. There must be justice. There must be accountability. And that has to begin where the rot starts - Queen's Park. Yes there should be criminal charges. But the real indictment has to be of Ontario's political system.


Gordie Canuk said...

Good post, I particularly like how you noted that this is not something new, how it's probably been going on for 50 or so years, at least. Ontario has had both Lib and Con governments during this time, and one near 5 year stint with the NDP.

With that being said I do think the pandemic and our response probably made a bad situation even worse. Ontario's hospitals moved elderly sick patients to LTC facilities in order to free up bed space for the anticipated surge. And then the actual Covid-19 outbreak itself led to staffing shortages...either from illness itself or from staff not coming into work for fear of contracting Covid themselves...and I'm not going to sit in judgement of a someone like a PSW who has family to come home to and look after, people often live with aging parents and grandparents.

I am lucky in that I know of only one person who's contracted the virus, and at that its someone I haven't seen since high school. Word went out on social media that "Sandy" was fighting for her life...thankfully as it turned out she was isolating in a motel room after testing positive. She's an RN working in a LTC north of Toronto, and while working on the admin side she had to go onto the floor because of staffing shortages.

We're going to have to spend a lot more money to fix these problems going forward...at a time when tax revenues are going to be taking a serious hit. In Ontario debt servicing was already the 3rd biggest expense after health and education, I won't be surprised to see it at number one after this....I just hope they increase taxes and stop making our lenders rich.

Ben Burd said...

You probably know what I am going to say before I say it, Mound!

Ford is full of deluded pompous rage concocted to make him feel good. We all know what has been going on, There have have been more reports about the failings of the privatised LTC sector than the cases of toilet paper hoarded by Covidiots. All of them ignored because of the disgusting and in-view links between the "rich" Conservatives who have glommed onto the Boards of the LTC sector.

If anybody expects anything but a whitewash of the problems from this slug then they are delusional too.

The only thing that will shake up this sad sector is a slew of lawsuits designed to bankrupt the industry. That will not happen, these thugs and conmen will implement half assed reforms - a couple more nursing hours per resident, small pay increases but no abolition of part time work, all out of the public purse and designed to allow big dividends to pour into the pockets of the exbagmen and hacks that still vote conservative. A major transfer of public money to the coffers of the private sector. A sad commentary on out morals and attitudes.

Maximum said...

While the Long Term Care system in Ontario has suffered for years due to privatization and chronic underfunding, the recent lack of annual inspections has brought us to this point. Prior to the Ford Government, all 626 LTCs we inspected annually. In the first year after Ford was elected half were inspected, and last year only 9 were inspected in what has become a complaint driven oversight system. Harris privatized oversight for water quality and the Walkerton deaths followed, then Harper cut federal meat inspectors resulting in listeriosis deaths. This neoliberal thinking is like playing the game where pieces of a structure are removed one by one until it collapses. Over the years the LTC structure has been weakened until Covid19 caused it to fail. Ford may have inherited this problem, but he also ignored it for more "important issues", like licence plates.

Anonymous said...

One thing I learned by working in auto manufacturing is that quality can't be "inspected in," it needs to be "built in." That means systems need to be built to track quality and make it publicly visible. Systems need to identify and address quality issues, rather than sweaping them under the rug. System design should eliminate the possibility of human error, by making it impossible to install a part incorrectly, for example.

The payoff is increasing quality across all manufacturers, with quality ratings factoring into buying decisions. The automakers use J.D. Power consumer and plant surveys, Consumer Reports ratings, and feedback from their dealer repair networks, suppliers and internal metrics to improve quality. Yes, there is still a need for inspection, but workers need to be empowered to stop the line rather than handing a known defect to the next person on it.

As far as I can see, none of this happens in nursing homes. A quick internet search will immediately tell you which vehicles and autoplants have the highest quality ratings. Same goes for hotels and airlines. By contrast, the nursing home sector is a black box. Potential customers have no way knowing if they of their loved ones are buying a lemon.

The quality systems used by the automakers are not foolproof, no human system is. But they work and are not particularly expensive - they certainly don't rely on government inspection. But nursing homes are in such poor shape that governments need to step in to create quality control systems. Even a simple green, yellow or red sticker to be posted on the door, as restaurants are required to show, would be a step in the right direction.


Toby said...

Cap has a good point, quality needs to be built in.

A question I am asking about a lot of problems these days: do the free trade deals interfere with our ability to fix this? Under NAFTA, Chapter 11, Canada got sued every time it tried to fix something. I don't know if USMCA changed anything. The reason I'm asking now is that so many of the private nursing homes are foreign owned and they may have Canadians over a barrel. Would a foreign corporation invest in Canadian nursing homes if they weren't guaranteed profits? Can they tell our government to buzz off?

The Disaffected Lib said...

You can't solve this by annual inspections. It takes random inspections without prior notice. The operators have to know there'll be consequences if they let care standards lapse.

When I was a teen awaiting induction into the air force I took a job at a stamping plant where they produced body panels, oil pans, etc. for the automotive industry. It had a real turnover problem. The workers called it the "finger factory" for the number of accidents.

When government safety inspectors showed up they would often order that certain presses deemed unsafe be locked up until they were repaired. The inspectors would leave and the foremen would have those machines back up and running within the hour. The fines were just a cost of doing business. I didn't stay very long.

rumleyfips said...

We should all go to a mirror, point a finger and say " this is your fault ". We have either voted for or allowed to win, parties who push lower taxes over human life. We don't care about a strangers dead grand-ma if we can collect a few more bucks.

The Disaffected Lib said...

I was talking about this situation with a friend whose 92-year old mother is in long-term care. I'm told the private, for profit homes that usually cost an arm and a leg are considered the worst for hygiene and care. Provincial government homes with unionized attendants are deemed far better. The problem is that it's much harder to get into a government home than a private care home.

The Disaffected Lib said...

That's a very good question, Toby. I'd like to think we still retain jurisdiction to regulate healthcare but that could be wishful thinking.