CARP Calls for Public Inquiry After Wettlaufer Pleads Guilty to Long-Term Care Murders

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Thursday, June 1, 2017 (Toronto, ON) – CARP is calling for a public inquiry into how long-term care deals with abuse, neglect, and untimely deaths of long-term care residents in Canada.

Canada’s largest advocacy group for older Canadians calls abuse in long-term care homes ‘a growing crisis.’ The call for public inquiry comes just after former nurse Elizabeth Wetlauffer pled guilty to all eight charges of murder, four charges of attempted murder and two of aggravated assault of residents in a long-term care home.

At Carressant Care, in Woodstock, ON, Wettalaufer worked as a nurse and supervised RPNs and personal support workers. Last September, she surrendered her license after charges were laid. Police reported the crimes took place over the last decade in three Ontario long-term care facilities where Wettlaufer worked and a private home.

“The murder of these eight elderly residents in their long-term care facility puts a disturbing spotlight on long-term care,” says Wanda Morris, VP of Advocacy for CARP.

“What is worse is that this case is not an isolated incident. For years, we’ve heard stories about residents who suffered or died due to neglect, abuse and violence in facilities meant to be providing care,” says Morris.

In court, it was confirmed that the cause of the deaths was from insulin injections. Wetlauffer knew insulin was not monitored and often worked at night and had free access to it. In court, she said she was not intoxicated by drugs and alcohol when she injected the residents with insulin. She understood she was causing bodily harm.

“CARP is very concerned about attitudes and behaviours towards our most vulnerable Canadians in long-term care,” says Morris. “A public inquiry is long-overdue.”

CARP  extends its condolences again to the families of the victims and says it will do everything in its power to advocate for the prevention of elder abuse in long-term care homes, beginning with its call for a public inquiry. Background on the Wettlaufer case

Earlier this year, CARP was contacted by the family of James Acker, an 86 year-old who was beaten in his long-term care home and later died in hospital. To read more about this story, visit: www.carp.ca/residentsafety.

CARP is calling for answers, recommendations, and action to protect seniors in long-Term Care residences.

Please join CARP today! Your membership supports CARP advocacy.

Background on Wetlauffer Case

Police began investigating Wettlaufer last September after Toronto police became aware of information she’d given to a psychiatric hospital in Toronto that caused them concern.

In October, she was charged in the deaths of the eight residents at two nursing homes, with police alleging she used drugs to kill seniors there between 2007 and 2014.

The murder victims were Maurice Granat, 84, Gladys Millard, 87, Helen Matheson, 95, Mary Zurawinski, 96, Helen Young, 90, Maureen Pickering, 79, and Arpad Horvath, 75.

In January, the six additional charges were laid against Wettlaufer related to seniors in her care. The attempted murder victims are Wayne Hedges, 57, Michael Priddle, 63, Sandra Towler, 77, and Beverly Bertram, 68. Wettlaufer is also charged with aggravated assault against 87-year-old Clotilde Adriano and 90-year-old Albina Demedeiros.

Wettlaufer was fired in 2014 from Caressant Care after being accused of making repeated medication-related errors.

Her dismissal came just days after the last suspicious death at the Woodstock home.

The information released in the search warrant that police used to seek Wettlaufer’s education records also indicates Wettlaufer was frequently suspended from her job at the home where she worked and where seven of the eight alleged murder victims died.

For media interviews, please contact:

Wanda Morris, VP of Advocacy, CARP

media@carp.ca or 778-838-7998