Military report depicts disturbing conditions, abuse and neglect in seniors homes

Published On May 26, 2020 | By Abigael Ruto | COVID-19, News
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, seen here in an April 9 press conference at Rideau Cottage, described today what he called disturbing conditions in five Ontario seniors homes. A military report outlined what they found in the homes. (RS/Blair Gable)
Abigael Ruto

Troops serving in Ontario long-term care homes made “extremely troubling” observations on the treatment of the elderly, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a May 26 press conference.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlines the findings made by Canadian Armed Forces personnel embedded in five Ontario seniors homes. He described the report as “disturbing” and passed it on to Ontario Premier Doug Ford who promised swift action.

A report presented by the Canadian Armed Forces to Trudeau on May 22 contained what he described as frustrating and saddening details that have prompted him to call for swift action.

“On reading the deeply disturbing report I had a range of emotions of anger, sadness, frustration and grief,” he said.

Trudeau said he shared the report with the Ontario government and is looking to Ontario Premier Doug Ford to act on it.

“I spoke with Premier Doug Ford this morning to assure him that the federal government will be there to support Ontarians in its jurisdictions on dealing with this as we move forward,” Trudeau said.

Last month, about 1,650 Canadian soldiers were deployed to various facilities to help staff struggling with a rapid increase in the spread of COVID-19 and the high number seniors who died.

The five institutions include Orchard Villa, a Pickering long-term care home, Altamount Care Community in Scarborough, Eatonville Care Centre in Etobicoke, Hawthorne Place in North York and Holland Christian Homes’ Grace Manor in Brampton.

Research following the deaths in recent months in Canada found that long-term care homes accounted for 82 per cent of the total deaths in the country.

The findings by National Institute on Ageing (NIA) showed that 3,890 residents had died due to Coronavirus as of May 8, 2020.

The challenges faced by the long-term care system are beyond the ones indicated by the Canadian Armed Forces, Trudeau said.

Some of the allegations presented by the analysis of the document show rooms were infested with roaches, residents reportedly crying for help for up to two hours with no one to respond and others waiting weeks before being bathed.

“This is a situation that has gone on for a long time,” he said. “We need to take action as a country.

“We need to do a better job of supporting our seniors in long term care, right across the country through this pandemic and beyond,” Trudeau said.

Ottawa announced a $3 billion boost to front-line workers earlier in May including those in long-term care homes.

Trudeau applauded efforts by the Canadian Armed Forces in their support to Ontario and Quebec and promised to look into the extension of deployment period.

“They are doing an incredible job just like always,” he said.

Ford said in a press briefing yesterday the report was the most heart-wrenching report he has ever read and vowed to deal with the situation accordingly, including the possibility of a criminal investigation.

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