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Nursing college didn’t investigate Wettlaufer firing because she admitted errors

Kelly Grant, Globe and Mail

The former nurse, already sentenced to life in prison for the murders of elderly patients, was found guilty of professional misconduct and formally stripped of her licence. The regulatory body for Ontario nurses decided against launching a formal investigation into the firing of Elizabeth Wettlaufer, later revealed to be a serial killer, because it heard from Ms. Wettlaufer’s former boss that the nurse was upfront about making medication errors and had no “underlying” issues. But the long-term care facility in Woodstock, Ontario, that dismissed Ms. Wettlaufer in 2014 sent the College of Nurses of Ontario a summary of 10 workplace violations that suggest the home had serious concerns about her performance at the time she was fired, according to correspondence obtained by the Globe and Mail.

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Relatives are just trying to improve care

Diana Pepin, Letter to the editor, The Ottawa Citizen

Re: The time to get started fixing long-term care is now, July 14. I just melted reading your editorial. It helped relieve my own sense of isolation and powerlessness. The daughters facing “No Trespass” orders from long-term care homes are exactly the people you would want taking care of you. Ask the people fighting these women: Wouldn’t you want me (or these daughters) to be there for your mom? We are the people you can have confidence in because we have residents’ best interests at heart. We have no financial, social or personal gain from being advocates. It is hard. It is draining. It can suck the life out of you. But we really care and what we improve for one resident of long-term care, we hope will become an outbreak of the best kind for all long-term care residents now and to come.

Councillors shirking duty with silence on long-term care homes

Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen

OK, it’s finally summer, but that doesn’t excuse Ottawa city hall’s lame response to the shocking video of a city long-term care worker punching a helpless 89-year-old resident. One would have hoped that that incident alone would have galvanized councilors to say or do something, but the silence has been nearly complete. If not the video, how about city staff’s petty and vindictive decision to limit access given to the daughters of two residents in another long-term care facility, caregivers who have committed the sin of complaining about the quality of service?

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Personal support workers in Ontario lack oversight of most other professions

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

Arborists, hairdressers, even swine herders are governed by a regulatory body in Ontario, which holds them to professional standards. But personal support workers – who make up the backbone of the increasingly overtaxed long-term health care system – are not. The lack of college or regulatory body for personal support workers – something other health workers have – is both puzzling and worrisome, says Michael Hurley, president of the Ontario Council of Hospital Unions and a vice president of CUPE Ontario. The recent assault of an elderly resident at Ottawa’s Garry J. Armstrong long-term care facility by a personal support worker – which was caught on video camera – is shining a light on the need for a regulatory body, he said. The personal support worker was fired and pleaded guilty to assault. “I would say the overwhelming proportion of personal support workers are loving, compassionate people who try to do a great job for the people they look after … even though they are stretched to the limit. But in any profession, there will be people who have mental illness, who have addictions, people who are not suited to work in the profession,” said Hurley.

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Something is rotten at our long-term care homes

Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen

When the Citizen first broke the news about the punching of a senior citizen by a worker at the Garry J. Armstrong facility, the president of the Family and Friends Council of the nursing home penned a passionate defence of its workers and service. “The staff is extremely dedicated and chose this career and environment because that is their passion. They derive tremendous satisfaction from the interaction they have with residents and are to be commended for often performing far beyond the norm expected of them …” John McCormick wrote. Reading this, I gave the nursing home and its workers the benefit of the doubt. You don’t tar an entire institution for the actions of one man. But following other agonizing stories of abuse and neglect at Garry J. Armstrong and other spots, there is no doubt something is rotten at some of our long-term care homes. No amount of goodwill can excuse the catalogue of abuse, and one might say, cruelty. Particularly odious is the practice of punishing – yes, punishing – people for speaking out against the mistreatment of their loved ones.

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