Top Stories 2015

December 6, 2015
Ontario long-term care ‘a system in crisis,’ workers say
CUPE says overstretched facilities are providing inadequate service
CBC News, Amanda Pfeffer
Patients in Ontario long-term care homes are at growing risk of abuse and neglect if shortcomings underscored in this week’s auditor general’s report aren’t addressed, say advocates and workers at long-term care facilities.
“You’re going to get more and more abuse. You’re going to get more and more neglect,” said Linda Assad Butcher, a retired ER nurse and dean of nursing whose husband, diagnosed with early onset dementia, lives at the municipally run Gary J. Armstrong facility in Ottawa.
Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk detailed Wednesday how the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care fell behind on its critical-incident and complaint inspections across the province, because of a doubling in the number of complaints between December 2013 and March 2015.
Workers and a patient advocate tell CBC News the province is not addressing the root causes behind the ballooning number of those complaints.
They describe a system where overstretched, underpaid workers are expected to handle more and more residents — many arriving with increasingly complex care issues because of earlier releases from health-care facilities. Residents miss meals, continent patients are put in diapers because no one can bring them to the bathroom in a timely fashion, and there aren’t enough personnel to ensure violent patients don’t hurt others, the workers say.
“Most long-term care workers would not want to see their loved ones in their own workplace,” said Joanne Waddell, the eastern Ontario spokesperson on long-term care issues for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
She said personal support workers face a job that has become a steady stream of telling patients, “Just wait a minute, I’ll come back to you.”
“You can’t even walk down a hallway and make eye contact with patients because you know you don’t have time to stop.”

December 16, 2015
A care home owner who was jailed for mistreating elderly residents has had her sentence reduced on appeal
BBC News

Indranee Pumbien, who ran the Briarwood Rest Home, Preston, was convicted of force-feeding elderly residents and failing to seek immediate help for a 99-year-old woman who was scalded.
A judge at a Court of Appeal hearing on Tuesday reduced her “excessive” 18-month sentence to a year. Her lawyers argued the effect on her financially justified a shorter term. They also said Pumbien, 59, of Grosvenor Place, Preston, suffered from depression and claustrophobia. Pumbien, a qualified nurse, was convicted at Preston Crown Court of three counts of ill-treatment and jailed for 18 months in August. Her husband Meghadeven Pumbien and employee Niphawan Berry were also convicted of failing to get urgent medical care for the woman after she suffered extensive burns to her legs and feet when she was scalded in a bath.
At the Court of Appeal in London, Pumbien’s barrister, Alistair Webster QC, argued that the effect of losing her career, her care home and her income was devastating. He continued: ‘Given she suffers from recurrent depression and is claustrophobic, it was not necessary for the sentence to be as long as it was.’ Mrs Justice Simler, sitting with Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice Openshaw, allowed the appeal and cut the sentence to 12 months. The home closed soon after the first allegations were made. The site is now under new ownership and has been renamed.

January 20, 2015
Infected and undocumented :
Thousands of Canadians dying from hospital-acquired bugs
Postmedia News, Tom Blackwell

Kim Smith was no stranger to stress – her job in community corrections often brought her face to face with members of Winnipeg’s violent street gangs. But as she lay in a local hospital’s gynecology ward more than a year ago, nurses called her brother with an unusual question: Did Kim suffer from any kind of emotional troubles? The woman, her caregivers said, had been telling them she wanted to kill herself. It was a shocking turn of events, coming a week after Smith entered Winnipeg’s St. Boniface Hospital for a hysterectomy and ovary removal procedure. In the days since the operation, however, she had been complaining of escalating pain in her gut, so intense that she began to fear for her life – and then apparently wanted to end it. By the time medical staff took the woman’s complaints seriously, an infection inside her belly had developed into necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating disease) and devoured large chunks of her abdomen. Within hours of emergency surgery to drain “brown, foul-smelling liquid” and excise dead tissue, and four days after her 45th birthday, Smith was dead. Read the rest here: