Sep 07, 2023

By Bob Komsic

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Families who lost loved ones in long-term care during the pandemic will likely nod in agreement with the provincial ombudsman whose new report says the ministry needs clear rules in place for in-person inspection for a future pandemic.
Paul Dube also feels the ministry must act immediately when residents are at-risk of ongoing serious harm.
The ombudsman found there were no inspections for the first seven-weeks of COVID and no inspection reports issued for the first two-months.
That’s because in many cases, inspectors were deployed to ”support” homes rather than enforce compliance.
Dube says the inspections branch also did little, or often nothing, when homes did file reports about outbreaks.

Even when inspections resumed and violations were found, he adds, the inspections branch often took the least harsh enforcement action available, even in serious situations.
The NDP’s critic Wayne Gates says the report confirms that the inspection system ”collapsed,” when many of the deaths were preventable.
The head of the largest union representing nursing home workers says the report reveals what S-E-I-U Healthcare says it’s known for years.

”That there was and still is a lack of protection for residents and staff … and virtually no penalties levied against negligent home corporations that break their obligation to keep people safe,” adds Sharleen Stewart, SEIU Healthcare President.
”After 4,000 senior deaths and 13-staff deaths, there have been no severe sanctions against nursing home operators that cut corners and put profit before care.”
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