Feb 09, 2021
By Jane Brown
We are learning of a huge discrepancy in hospitalizations for residents of long term care who died after contracting COVID-19 and older seniors in the community who died with the virus.
An analysis in the Toronto Star of COVID-related deaths (between March and December 2020) finds 80-percent of those between the ages of 80 and 89 who were living in the community were hospitalized before dying with COVID-19. At the same time, just 24-percent of long term care residents with COVID were sent to hospital before they died.
Lawyer Jane Meadus with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly blames nursing home operators for sticking too rigidly to end of life wishes in documents signed by residents when they are admitted.
She says the rigid interpretation of these documents is one reason why nursing home residents with COVID are not sent to Ontario hospitals for treatment or a less agonizing death with palliative care.
Meadus says the questions in these documents need to allow for an infectious disease, and whether an individual would want to stay in the nursing home in the event of an outbreak or go to the hospital where they could receive proper care, nutrition and hydration.