85 percent of Ont. nursing homes break the law repeatedly

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85 percent of Ont. nursing homes break the law repeatedly
85 percent of Ont. nursing homes break the law repeatedly

When Von took his mother out of his home and placed her in Craiglee Nursing Home in Scarborough, Ont., he and his partner, Mary, thought they were doing what was best for her.

But instead of loving care, Von’s mother, Kostadinka, was met with physical and emotional abuse at the hands of at least four different care workers, caught on a camera they had hidden in her room.

“It was like a horror film,” said Mary. “I will never be able to unsee those things.”

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What they didn’t know at the time was that the home had a long and repeated history of staff physically abusing the residents. They didn’t know — but the government did.

A data analysis of the most serious breaches of Ontario’s long-term care home safety legislation reveals that six in seven care homes are repeat offenders, and there are virtually no consequences for homes that break that law repeatedly.

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CBC Marketplace reviewed 10,000 inspection reports and found over 30,000 “written notices,” or violations of the Long-Term Care Homes Act and Regulations (LTCHA), between 2015 and 2019 inclusive. The LTCHA sets out minimum safety standards that every care home in Ontario must meet.

Marketplace isolated 21 violation codes for some of the most serious or dangerous offences, including abuse, inadequate infection control, unsafe medication storage, inadequate hydration, and poor skin and wound care, among others. The analysis found that of the 632 homes in the Ontario database, 538 — or 85 per cent — were repeat offenders.

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Jane Meadus, a lawyer with the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, said the high number of repeated incidents shows that non-compliance with the law has been normalized within care homes.

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