No easy answers for abuse in care facilities

Wanda Morris, The Ottawa Citizen, London Free Press

It was more than three decades ago, but I still remember the elegant surroundings I saw when I stepped out of the car: the freshly clipped lawn, the stone façade, the oak door. It was the first day of an audit at a long-term care facility. I had come equipped with my briefcase, working papers and calculator. But nothing prepared me for what I’d find inside. When I opened the door, I was greeted by the smell of bleach, of institutional food, of despair. To reach the accountant’s office, I walked past people sitting in wheelchairs who reached out, trying to catch my attention. I walked past people in rooms, calling out from their beds. And I walked past a nursing station where staff talked and laughed, seemingly oblivious to the misery around them. Every day, I walked down that hall; every night, I went home and wept. It may be 30 years later, but the problems remain.
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