Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday May 29, 2020
A long-term care disaster that everyone saw coming
Doug Ford looked rattled. Justin Trudeau looked stern. Both men were responding to a devastating report on the squalid conditions facing residents at five long-term care homes in Ontario. The report came from whistle-blowing members of the military deployed to five facilities in the Greater Toronto Area.
At a press conference, Ford called the report heartbreaking, horrific and gut-wrenching. Trudeau said when he read the report, he felt a “range of emotions” including anger, frustration, sadness and grief.
Patricia Treble delved in after Ford made it public. This is just a sampling of what she found:
Military teams witnessed “aggressive behaviour” that they believed was “abusive/inappropriate” as well as “degrading or inappropriate comments directed at residents.” Soldiers saw residents left in soiled diapers, some unbathed for several weeks. They saw cockroaches, ants and rotten food, as well as “significant gross fecal contamination….in numerous patient rooms.”
“The conditions were perfect for a deadly virus such as COVID-19 to strike,” writes Treble, who details the Ford government’s changes to inspection procedures and the province’s slow response to combatting COVID-19. She points to decades worth of reports into the fraying system of elder care. Treble ends with the obvious question: “If it took the intervention of the Canadian Armed Forces for the public to find out the dire situation at five facilities, what are the conditions in the other 621 LTC homes in the province?” (Maclean’s)