Loss of family caregivers putting Ottawa long-term care residents and others at risk

Elizabeth Payne, The Ottawa Citizen

From the moment she entered a long-term care facility in Ottawa, the elderly woman’s family was by her side, feeding her, caring for her and keeping a close eye on her health during daily visits. That ended in March when long-term care homes across Ontario brought in strict no-visitor policies because of the pandemic. Within a month, the woman’s health was failing. In mid-April, staff contacted her family to tell them she was unresponsive. She died two days after being rushed to hospital. By then, she was severely dehydrated, had lost weight and was suffering from kidney failure, says her granddaughter Ilona Miller, a nurse practitioner. Among the first things Miller did when she got into the hospital to see her grandmother was soothe her cracked lips, which were covered with sores.

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