Residents are still suffering from abuse in Long-Term Care Homes.
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.
Here’s how one family reached out to CARP for support.
On January 30th, 2017 the Carbino family sent a desperate note to CARP President, Moses Znaimer.
“He (James) was almost beaten to death in his sleep at St. Joseph Villa (Long-Term Care Facility) two nights ago. He is a gentle soul of 86 and has dementia. Another resident with dementia walked down the hall to his room and beat him at around 2 am. This was NOT noticed by any staff until they found him wandering the halls bleeding profusely after the attack!!!
There are no security precautions in place (such as bed alarms, hall cameras or door alarms). This is a government run home and it seems to me like there is a systematic breakdown and gross negligence on the part of the home,” wrote Richard Carbino, son-in-law of James Acker, 86.
James suffered head trauma, bleeding on the brain, black eyes and bloody face. The Carbino family shared heart-breaking photos of James after he was assaulted in his sleep the night before.
CARP says lack of funding and qualified staff, increasing number of dementia patients, aging infrastructure and overworked support workers contribute to putting residents at risk.
CARP took James Acker’s story to Queen Park accompanied by his daughter, Tammy Carbino. Under pressure from CARP and Ontario’s NDP critic, Teresa Armstrong, Tammy met with the Minister of Health and Long-Term Care. She shared her father’s tragic story and they discussed what could be done to protect residents in long-term care homes. Read more about the Minister’s meeting.
“Mr. Acker’s family reached out so that we might assist in not only sharing their story, but also in provoking serious discussion about this growing problem. Accordingly, I’ve asked CARP to lead the charge on this. We must see action at both provincial and federal levels,” said CARP President, Moses Znaimer.
James never returned to St. Joseph Villa. He stayed in hospital on a waiting list for another nursing home. His health declined and he died two and a half months later in hospital.
System Needs Change Now
“My father’s death will not be in vain. I’m going to try really hard to change the system. This will be my life’s work in dedication to my father,” said Tammy Carbino in an interview with the Hamilton Spectator.
Prior to her father’s death, Tammy also spoke out to Zoomer Radio host, Libby Znaimer and said:
“I want change! I want change! The health care system has to change…. I’m in shock that we are having this conversation… How many of our elders have to die or be hurt?”
“I want to share my story and create awareness to get this message out there. This affects all of us. We all have a mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, uncles. We’re all being affected and we all need to come together. There needs to be change at the Provincial and Federal level,” said Tammy.
According to one of the callers into Zoomer radio’s interview with Tammy Carbino, “If this was happening in pediatric wards, the government would be outraged and reacting immediately.”
Elder Abuse Facts
One study revealed that 42% of nurses in Ontario had witnessed at least one incident of elder abuse in the past three years.
Approximately 20% of Canadians know a senior who they believe is experiencing abuse, and some studies suggest that 8-10% of seniors experience elder abuse in one form or another.
Put another way, 766,247 seniors were abused in Canada last year.
The number of seniors is expected to double over the next 15 years and CARP anticipates that the number of seniors being abused will in turn increase significantly.
Since the Acker family contacted CARP, we’ve reached over 100,000 on Facebook and had more readers tell us their story of abuse and neglect in Ontario’s long term care facilities.
CHCH News in Hamilton: