Report by Canadian military exposes nightmarish conditions in long-term care

The Canadian Armed Forces, which have been providing front-line support to several struggling long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec, have submitted a shocking report detailing multiple accounts of abuse, neglect and failure to comply with procedures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 between staff and residents.

Update: The full report has been revealed by the media. You can read it here

The report, which hasn’t yet been released to the public—Ford promised in his address on May 26 to release it for all to see—paints a deeply disturbing image of several homes in Ontario, as told by the military personnel attempting to help staff care for their vulnerable residents during the pandemic.

Some of the reported problems outlined in the report include:

  • COVID-19 positive residents wandering the home in contact with staff and other residents
  • Lack of wound and bleeding treatment
  • Fallen residents ignored by staff
  • Sharing of catheters between residents
  • Expired medications being administered
  • Staff working within a “culture of fear” of using supplies and PPE to save costs (gowns, dressings, gloves)
  • Supplies kept under lock and key, inaccessible by those who need them (e.g. disinfectant wipes for PSWs)
  • Extra soaker pads, for incontinent residents, not allowed
  • Soiled residents left unchanged for extended periods of time
  • No disinfection of facilities
  • Cockroach and insect infestations
  • Forceful eating resulting in choking
  • Lack of bathing for weeks
  • Residents left without meals for extended periods of time

“This report, both egregious and indefensible, affirms a lot of what we already knew,” says Marissa Lennox, Chief Policy Officer at CARP. “There’s no question that building deficiencies, chronic staffing shortages and pest control issues are all things that we’ve heard before.  What was unexpected was the overwhelming disregard for basic principles of health care and the culture of fear of being reprimanded for using the necessary supplies to provide proper care to residents. Urgent intervention is required.”

Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed that he is “saddened, shocked, disappointed and angered” by the report and is in talks with Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Premier Ford has emphatically promised to fix the long-term care system, repeatedly calling the findings “gut-wrenching”.

Ford has extended the military presence in these homes for at least another 30 days, as they continue to be unable to provide the basics of acceptable care for their residents.

CARP is fighting for safer long-term care across Canada. Find out more