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Letter: Our trust in the long-term care system has been broken

The province has failed to protect residents, despite warnings and concern
long term care

Families who have loved ones in long-term care (LTC) homes are distressed. 

They placed their family member in a home because they could no longer live an independent life. Their loved one trusted the family when they promised that no one would be abandoned, that they would be visited on a regular basis, and that they would be protected from harm. 

Many residents can’t comprehend the seriousness of the pandemic and don’t understand the chaos around them. Seeing the events of the last two months or so, these residents must feel the bond of trust has been broken. This might be the time to open LTC homes to safe, controlled visits in areas that have no outbreaks.

Families depended on PSWs and front-line workers to provide care for their loved ones on a daily basis; to look after their needs, to provide comfort, and a semblance of normal life. Fortunately, PSWs have stepped up to do just that, putting their own health on the line, as well as the welfare of their own families. We are grateful for their dedication.

Families believed the management team in each LTC home would ensure the needs and safety of all residents would be their priority – above all else. Many did meet this obligation, but sadly, many failed to do so, and we have witnessed the tragic loss of life. 

This trust has been broken.

Families relied on the government to oversee the safe operation of all LTC homes. Their obligation was to monitor each home and enforce the LTC Act. When concerns and warnings were raised to the highest levels, it appears they were ignored and dismissed as unfounded complaints. 

This trust has been broken.

At this point, all we have left is hope. The Ontario government has promised to set up a commission to study the appalling and devastating events that have occurred in LTC homes. They have promised to fix a system that is broken and to make those who have failed in their obligation accountable to the public. They have promised that no stone will be left unturned in order to fix a system that has been neglected for decades. Let’s hope that they keep this promise and are able to restore our trust once more.

Terry Martyn, Sudbury