April 20, 2020 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
Province-wide disclosure of deaths from C19 tells a grim story. From Montreal, Quebec to Toronto, Ontario … these two Provinces seem to be the Epicentre of the neglect and deaths in these long term homes. So far some 200 deaths have been recorded among residents and Personal Care workers associated with these long term health facilities. British Columbia and other provinces seem to be doing a better job. CBC the National has helped in this expose’.
The COVID 19 pandemic has exposed the not so pleasant underbelly of an important segment of our nation’s health sector which is not only broken, underfunded and neglected, but out of touch with the modern times. It is like a “human junk yard” for the bruised and once useful members of our society. Some still functioning, others half funcional and too many like a piece of “junk” just waiting to be buried. No disrespect meant to loved ones or those lovely innocent souls. Many are suffering from dementia and therefore are not mentally capable to fend for themselves. You may say they are like sheep who are virtually being led to the slaughter.
We will all end up in one such home one day. It is not the culture in most societies, especially North America to pay must attention to the aged or infirmed. Long term homes are the alternatives.
In Canada they used to promote “granny flats” I’m not sure if this social plan is still being promoted. We all do not have extended families living at the same place or under one roof anymore. That is a long past model now outdated. Unfortunately!
High Death Rate
The unprecedented high death rate reported at long term nursing homes tells a grim story and paints a disturbing picture. They are death traps based on the disclosed figures. They are increasing the national death rate especially at this Corona time. Many are infected and die from C19 a known respiratory virus. These folks with likely pre-existing ailments like high blood pressure issues, asthma and other lung related ailments are prime victims … like sitting ducks.
Provincial Quality Inspections (PQI)
These inspections have long been discontinued due to funding issues and complaints of too much or voluminous paper work.
Underpaid and poor quality staffing have been identified as causes of this alarming death rate. Helpless seniors die in alarming numbers with their loved ones forced to watch helplessly. It is a slippery slope with very little help seen to be on the horizon. Once productive citizens dumped in below standard facilities left to die without their dignity in tact. Many are not mentally aware of the situation. It exposes an unpleasant underbelly of a broken system. The province of Ontario has promised to step in.
Many so called caregivers seem to just get a job for which they are not fully equipped to handle. It is not clean high paying jobs. It entails cleaning up urine and changing diapers. What is the value to society of this type of work? They are glorified domestics. They are officially referred to as “Personal Care Workers”. It is not the title or status, but the remuneration that makes the difference in the final analysis. Many are forced to work part time in multiple homes to make ends meet. This leads to the spread of C19. This practice has temporarily been outlawed in Ontario for two weeks. It takes cash to care jn the final analysis. Is there another proven way?
A criminal investigation into these homes has been promised. We say hoorah! Latest reports are that reform is on its way. For example 125 members of the armed forces are to be dispatched to assist in these homes. The details are sketchy, but this cannot happen too soon.
South of the border the situation as it relates to long term home deaths is not a different story, just another script. It is not immediately know what their rescue plan is but something urgent needs to be done. Their national death rate from C19 exceeds 20,000 from over 600, 000 confirmed cases.
WHO Fights Back With Telethon
With Trump threatening to withhold funds from the WHO they are not sitting down and mourn. A world wide Telethon is planned.
In Jamaica under the guidance of Culture Minister The Hon. Olivia “Babsy” Grange a very successful Telethon was held last weekend. We are yet to get the figures as to cash pledged or collection, but it did get widespread support both locally and internationally. The target was 10 million US dollars.
It our deeply held view that no senior should die in north America and Canada in particular due to lack of care. There is too much material and other resources a bound for this to be so. Compassion and respect for life also rides high on national sentiments. Canada has long been regarded as one of the best places on earth to live. We regard the Canadian society as a super caring place where respect for animals, children and the aged gets top priority and are highly respected. It is not beyond the leaders to flatten the curve and improve the Provincial image by fixing the broken long term home situation. This is our perspective. What is yours?
This Special investigation is by no means complete. Our team will do further work.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie headed this team he lived in Canada and is also now Senior National & International Correspondent for Vision Newspaper Canada.