A lawyer representing a Hamilton retirement home that had its licence revoked in mid-June by Ontario’s regulator says his client “responded appropriately” to a devastating coronavirus outbreak that claimed the lives of 16 residents.
In a statement, attorney Robert S. Brown says the Rosslyn Retirement Residence filed an appeal with Ontario’s licence appeal tribunal on June 15, the same day the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority (RHRA) decided to revoke his client’s licence to operate the King Street East facility.
“Rosslyn welcomes the opportunity to publicly explain how it prepared for COVID-19, and to show the actions it took at the home since it was struck by this outbreak,” Brown said. “Rosslyn is confident that when all information is publicly known, it can satisfy the Registrar, the public, and its community that it responded appropriately.”
The RHRA posted the results of its final inspection report on Friday, which invalidated the licence of the Rosslyn following a COVID-19 outbreak in May.
The RHRA report says the licensee failed to:
- Properly store drugs securely on the property.
- Produce documentation to confirm that action was taken on pest control related to mice and bedbugs in the home.
- Produce written plans of care for residents and that listed patient that needs were met.
The report went on to allege that the licensee’s site manager attempted to obstruct the inspection, only showing the inspector fully completed resident documentation, while incomplete files were said to be “off-site.”
The inspector also accused the site’s manager of some deception, saying she left the home for a medical appointment when, in fact, she actually met up with a staff member who had quit work during the inspection to persuade them to return to work and influence inspection findings.
Brown didn’t directly respond to the accusations in a response, but did say the home had never been subject to any regulatory orders prior to the onset of COVID-19.
“Indeed, as recently as September, 2019, an inspection revealed no concerns about its facilities, including its cleanliness, the care provided to residents, or the protocols and plans in place for emergency management,” Brown said.
Phil Norris, RHRA manager of communications, said the regulatory body issued the revocation notice on June 15 “after careful review and consideration of the information collected through inspections, complaints and reports from staff and the public.”
The home was the site of the worst COVID-19 outbreak in Hamilton after 64 residents and 22 staff were evacuated from the facility near Gage Park last month.
The City of Hamilton followed the RHRA’s lead on June 25, issuing a statement that the municipal licence was being revoked in connection to “failed inspections, complaints and reports from staff” as a result of the outbreak at the Rosslyn.
“Currently, the Rosslyn is vacant, and residents remain in the hospital. The city continues to work with the RHRA to determine appropriate supports for the residents going forward. The licence holder of the Rosslyn may seek to renew their licence and if refused, may appeal before the Hamilton Licensing Tribunal,” the city said in a release.
Residents have not been allowed to return to the home since the licence was revoked, and Norris said those who are impacted will receive financial support through the RHRA’s emergency fund.
Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath called on the province on Monday to revoke the operating licences for all eight of the Hamilton retirement facilities owned by the Martino family, which includes the Rosslyn.
She described it as “a house of horrors, not a home,” with seniors living in “squalid conditions surrounded by bedbug infestations, mouse droppings and mould.”
“This must never, ever happen again,” Horwath said. “No senior should ever again have to live in a facility that puts their health, safety and well-being at risk.”
Brown says the Rosslyn “acknowledges the tragedy” that occurred and says management, administration and staff “mourn” the losses and send “condolences” to the families whose lives have been “shattered” by the epidemic.
With files from Lisa Polewski