Long-term care report details emotional abuse by overworked city staff

Jon Willing, The Ottawa Citizen

Residents of city-run long-term care homes have been subjected to demeaning comments by staff who are overworked and sometimes unsuited for the job, according to the full report filed by an independent consultant. Greg Fougère, the long-term care expert hired by the city to review the four homes, found evidence of “emotional abuse” at each of the facilities during his site visits. His full report was made available to the public after a community and protective services committee meeting Monday. “The prevalence of this type of abuse was lower than neglect, however the emotional impact on the residents involved was high,” Fougère’s report says. “Examples provided by residents and families included insulting and humiliating comments to residents such as ‘You’re fat’; abrupt PSW orders such as ‘Come for your bath’; upsetting comments to a married resident; undignified care to a resident at night by pulling down the covers, feeling the resident’s incontinence brief, and announcing ‘You’re dry’; chastising a resident with ‘Don’t yell at me’; shunning, ignoring, cold, and non-smiling to residents; accusing comments about continence care such as ‘I just did you’ and ‘You go to the bathroom too often’; teasing comments to a resident; dehumanizing comments such as ‘heavy wetter’ and ‘feeder’; and comments such as ‘sweetie’ and ‘dearie’.” Fougère conducted 240 interviews and discussions with staff, volunteers, residents and families and found no evidence to suggest there is additional physical or verbal assaults on residents, beyond what the city discovered prior to the start of his probe last November.

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