THUNDER BAY — The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care recently issued St. Joseph's Care Group 18 new compliance orders and written notifications mandating it to address care issues at its Hogarth Riverview Manor.
A ministry inspection report released in October revealed an incident on one unspecified unit in the 544-bed nursing home where "most of the residents' continence products were completely saturated with urine including their clothing and bedding."
Three Personal Support Workers who discovered the problem reported it, all of them saying "this incident constituted neglect to the majority of the residents on the unit," the report states.
After conducting an internal investigation, Hogarth Riverview management disciplined another PSW who was responsible for ensuring that residents needing continence products were changed during that individual's shift.
However, the ministry cited the incident as one of its reasons for issuing a Compliance Order requiring the home to ensure residents are protected from abuse and neglect.
"The decision...was based on the home's ongoing non-compliance with this section of the [Long-Term Care Homes Act], the severity was actual harm/risk to the residents, and the scope was widespread. The home has a history of non-compliance" dating back to February 2016, the report said.
The same order takes note of another incident in which a dietary aide was disciplined for abuse toward a resident.
Details are not disclosed, but another staff member reported to management that the worker had a verbal exchange with a resident in the dining room.
Management subsequently classified it as a case of emotional abuse.
A number of other issues were documented by a MOHLTC inspection team which visited the nursing home the last week of August and the first week of September.
These included isolated cases in which scheduled medication was not given to a resident, proper fluid intake was not ensured for another, and appropriate bathing was not provided in a third instance.
The report describes a lack of appropriate follow-up for some incidents, including one where a resident was hospitalized with "a significant injury" after a fall.
Hogarth Riverview has been in third-party management under a health ministry order since late 2017.
CEO says issues of concern are "not necessarily systemic"
In an interview Thursday, SJCG President and CEO Tracy Buckler said that over the past year, operations at the home "have improved dramatically" with the help of the private-sector company Extendicare Assist.
"We're seeing progress, and everybody's working very hard to make sure that every issue is addressed," Buckler said. The entire staff was "re-educated," she said, to make sure that everything was in place for appropriate training.
The CEO stated that care issues that are still showing up "are not necessarily systemic issues throughout the home but more specific areas that we need to pay attention to on a more individualized basis."
However, Buckler said she doesn't want to minimize the seriousness of incidents that have occurred at HRM, one of the largest nursing homes in Ontario.
"We try very hard to address them individually with families and with the residents...to make sure everything [is] to their satisfaction."
According to Buckler, an open door policy encourages anyone to communicate concerns, and families are made aware how and with whom to raise those concerns.
She added that management always shares the inspection reports as well as the resulting action plans with HRM's Residents' Council and Family Council.
Buckler isn't sure when the MOH might lift its third-party management order, but feels it's unlikely to happen until some staff vacancies are filled at HRM, including the all-important position of administrator.
In a prepared statement to Tbnewswatch, Extendicare Assist said it has also seen improvement at Hogarth Riverview since it became involved, "and the inspection reports reflect that improvement."
"Both Extendicare Assist and Hogarth Riverview Manor have zero tolerance for any form of abuse, including neglect, and have taken measures to ensure appropriate action...We encourage residents and families to share their input through both Residents Council and Family Council meetings," the statement added.
The company recently began third-party management of the Rainycrest long-term care home in Fort Frances, an arrangement that's scheduled to be in place for the next three years.