Crisis in care: The long-term care system is failing our most vulnerable, but the need for the system is only growing

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

While sitting at his bedside, she watched in alarm as her father began crying out: “Please don’t hurt me. You’re torturing me.” A staff psychiatrist at the Ottawa long-term care home where the 81-year-old war veteran lived suggested he might be reliving his wartime experiences.

His daughter later learned the truth. The veteran was one of four men living on a locked Alzheimer’s ward at Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre who were assaulted and manhandled by Allan Foubert, a support worker in charge of their care. The abuse, in 2006 and 2007, was uncovered by Foubert’s co-workers, who became concerned about bruises on the men. The marks left on the woman’s father included a badly swollen hand and bruising. The revelations devastated his daughter, who said the decision to place her father in long-term care had been one of the most difficult of her life. A decade later, she is still spending time in a long-term care home in Ottawa, one of a small army of people across the province supporting their loved ones and frequently fighting for better care. Now it’s her husband who requires full-time care after a debilitating stroke. She asked that her name not be used because of concern it might affect his care. “It’s a hard way to live,” she says.

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