Friday, June 28, 2013

Shocking elder abuse incident leads to investigation into Peterborough Ontario care home.

Hellen MacDonald with her son
Camille Parent.
On May 22, 2013; EPC published the story of the horrific elder abuse case of Hellen MacDonald, who was living in a long-term care home in Peterborough Ontario. Her son Camille Parent was upset about the care his mother was receiving and decided to install a hidden camera to uncover what was happening to his mother. 

The original article stated:
“We put the camera there thinking we were going to catch which residents were doing this too her because it needed to stop,” adds Mr. Parent. 
The video -- which reveals wandering residents entering Ms. MacDonald’s room, a personal support worker putting feces near Ms MacDonald face  and aggressively handling Ms MacDonald, and another personal support worker blowing his nose in Ms MacDonald’s bed sheets -- has shocked the community, caused the suspension with pay of two employees and led to an investigation by both Peterborough-Lakefield police and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. “It was just unbelievable,” says Mr. Parent. 
Mr. Parent hopes the video will result in charges being laid. 
The original article we published was titled: Elder abuse caught on video, incident is not isolated.

Now the Peterborough Examiner newspaper has reported that admissions to the care home have been suspended by the province after an investigation found multiple violations of the law.

The Peterborough Examiner reported:
Admissions to St. Joseph’s at Fleming have been suspended after a Ministry of Long-Term Care investigation found multiple violations of the provincial Long-Term Care Homes Act including failure to adhere to the infection prevention and control program, failure to protect residents from abuse, and failure to provide residents with three meals a day. 
The investigation was launched after a video camera hidden by Camille Parent in his mother’s room in April recorded abusive treatment of the 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient by St. Joseph's staff. Four staff members were fired as a result. 
According to ministry documents obtained by The Examiner, St. Joseph’s has been given until Sunday to comply with a number of orders issued by the ministry. 
St Joseph's at Fleming
The facility has been ordered, among other things, to “ensure that residents are protected from abuse by ensuring that physical force is not used in the provision of care when assisting residents with resistive behaviours; and by ensuring that intimidating or humiliating gestures, actions, behaviour or remarks are not directed to a resident…” 
The investigation also found that some residents are not served three meals daily. 
The Joseph’s, the ministry documents state, failed to comply with the act when some residents “were not provided breakfast.” 
According to residents, the documents state, on June 7 some residents were “provided a beverage … but no breakfast because staff ‘ran out of time.’ 
“The four staff members working on the … unit were interviewed about (the resident’s) breakfast status and were not able to confirm if the resident had been offered a breakfast,” the documents state. 
In an email to The Examiner Thursday night, Sheamus Murphy, director of communications for Health Minister Deb Matthews, confirmed the suspension of admissions. 
The ministry, he said, issued a “cease of admissions order for St. Joseph's at Fleming … due to resident care concerns. This is one of a number of steps that can be taken to further ensure resident care and safety while the home works to address areas of non-compliance identified during recent inspections. 
“The ministry has been actively monitoring the situation at St. Joseph’s at Fleming to help ensure resident safety and the home’s compliance, and will continue to do so. The current inspection is still ongoing,” Murphy wrote, adding that the ministry has “zero tolerance for abuse or neglect in our long-term care homes.” 
On Tuesday, the Catholic Health Corporation of Ontario (CHCO) restructured the St. Joseph’s board of directors, bringing in five new members, including the new chairman, who sit on the board of Providence Care in Kingston, a long-term-care facility that is also overseen by the CHCO.
It is important to state that this is not an isolated incident.
CTV news reported on the case with an article titled: Nursing home abuse incident not isolated. CTV reported on the recent settlement of the largest class action lawsuit in Quebec and it concerned elder abuse.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition recognizes the scourge of elder abuse as a sign of a societal attitude that dehumanizes vulnerable citizens, especially those who are unable to defend or speak for themselves. We also lament the fact that similar abuse occurs in care homes for people with disabilities.

A society that has devalued the lives of seniors, people with disabilities and other vulnerable people to the point that abuse can occur without detection and basic protections for people who are supposedly receiving care are not in place, must not even consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Elder abuse and abuse of vulnerable persons proves that any supposed "safeguards" will be ignored and abused in many circumstances leading to many deaths without request, as is happening in Belgium.

For more information go to: Physician-Assisted Suicide is a recipe for elder abuse.


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