Grey County Director of Long Term Care reacts to military report
The Director of Long Term Care in Grey County wants you to know that not all facilities in the province are like the ones highlighted in Tuesday's report issued by members of the military called in to help five of the hardest hit nursing homes in the province.
Jennifer Cornell calls the report troubling and tells Dock News no one deserves to live in the conditions outlined in the report that site everything from bug infestations and deplorable hygiene to lack of PPE and neglect.
"No one deserves to live in conditions like those and our thoughts go to the residents and their families."
She says the report highlights homes at their worst but it doesn't reflect all long term care facilities.
Cornell says the 19 homes across Grey and Bruce counties are regularly in contact sharing information and best practices and problem solve together to support each other.
"An example of that is throughout this pandemic, we have regular, weekly Zoom meetings involving representatives from all 19 homes, public health and the hospitals to share our challenges and solve problems together."
There have been outbreaks at several long term care homes in the region including the biggest at Mapleview in Owen Sound where up to 35 residents and staff contracted Covid-19.
Not only were there no deaths in any of the homes, no one even needed hospitalization.
She believes finding shared solutions is what has helped bring facilities through those really challenging times of an outbreak.
"The long term care system is extremely complex and there's a great deal of oversight and legislative guidelines and then a great deal of challenges with recruiting staff; just having enough people in our community that have gone into long term care to work. That was a challenge before Covid-19."
When we asked Cornell if it was money that needed to be thrown at the system she told us there are large gaps in compensation and expectations of the role of PSW's across the entire health sector and that's where some changes could be made.
"We're proud of our Grey County long term care staff. We select them carefully. They participate in extensive, annual training and we're extremely thankful for their continuing dedication and hard work during these really challenging circumstances. And I think there's an opportunity as a sector for us to look at what can we do to make those situations improve."
Cornell says there is a rigorous inspection system in place and the three homes operated by Grey County - Lee Manor in Owen Sound, Grey Gables in Markdale and Rockwood Terrace in Durham - have had inspectors in the homes at a level of frequency over the last couple of years.
"We take those inspections seriously. If there are areas for improvement, we take them seriously to ensure we're meeting the standards and I believe all homes work to strive above those standards."
We asked Cornell if the government came to her today and asked her what improvements she would make tomorrow what would she say.
"There are homes that have wonderful best practices where the focus is on a home environment, providing all the care and services for the residents. We need to look at how that can be applied and shared across the sector and support the home in implementing those best practices."
Cornell declined to comment on what might be the issue with the homes in the report.
Four of the five homes are privately owned, and one is a non-profit.
All were in the GTA.
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The entire province will be under a total fire ban at midnight on Thursday.