As of Sunday, 112 long-term care homes in Ontario are grappling with COVID-19 outbreaks and the number is still growing.
From the 553 deaths (as reported on Sunday April 19 9:35 am), 240 were residents of long- term care homes. Shockingly, four residences have reported more than 20 deaths each and at the time of writing of this blog, include:
- Pinecrest Nursing Home in Bobcaygeon: 29 deaths
- Eatonville Care Centre in Toronto: 31 deaths
- Anson Place Care Centre in Hagersville: 23 deaths
- Seven Oaks in Toronto: 22 deaths
This is tragic news yet given what we know about this disease and how it impacts an already weakened respiratory system and the challenges that have existed within LTC for some time, the news is not completely surprising.
In addition to requiring more front line staff, we will see a directive making it mandatory that staff only work at one facility. To date there has been no minimum staff to patient ratio within long term care homes- which has and continues to be a major problem.
Additionally Personal Support Workers are often employed by home care agencies that provide additional staffing and coverage to facilities. Until recently, home care agencies will send the same PSW’s out to hospitals, long term care and retirement homes as well as to (different) private-pay families. As a result of this pandemic, this is now changing. Let’s remember, most of us don’t choose to live in Long Term Care because we want to. Care needs and cost are the main reasons and it is never an easy decision.
However the question many are still asking is whether to bring a loved one home during this time. The National Institute on Ageing, The Ottawa Hospital and UOttawa created a very helpful decision aid to help families thoroughly understand what the issues are on whether “During the Covid-19 pandemic, should I go to live elsewhere or stay in long-term care or nursing home” and a similar document reviewing options to remain in a retirement or assisted living home“.
I don’t know what next week will bring- hopefully the numbers won’t keep growing….