The reforms required to make our Long term care facilities (LTC) safer are simple and cannot accidently incarcerate LTC residents: We have 4060 LTC beds in KFL&A. As discussed in many prior notes, most COVID-19 deaths occur in people who are not only old but who are also frail and live in nursing homes and long term care facilities (LTC). As of October 19th, the 1906 deaths in nursing homes account for 63% of all deaths in Ontario, click here. In the last 2 weeks the rate of death amongst LTC residents has once again begun to increase. There was an outbreak at Fairmont nursing home last week with 1 infected staff member (click here). The definition of an “outbreak” in a nursing home is quite strict and only requires 1 case to qualify as an outbreak.
There have been 9 additional deaths in Ontario LTCs since last Thursday
The reforms required to make our LTCs safe are simple to understand but expensive to implement: single rooms for all residents, proper funding of PSWs so they only work at a single site, availability of COVID-19 testing for residents and staff and adequate supplies of proper PPE.
We want to protect residents of LTC facilities but we can’t do this by locking them up and denying them access to family members and loved ones. The emotional trauma, despair and grief caused to people in LTCs in wave 1 is a story that is not yet fully told. In wave 2 we need to do better. LTC residents must be allowed to have ongoing access to their families in friends, with proper screening, PPE and in reasonable numbers. If we fail in this the consequences are as bad as failing to control COVID-19 infections in these facilities.