More needs to be done to help long-term care home operators and to protect their vulnerable, elderly residents in Manitoba amid recent COVID-19 outbreaks in Winnipeg care homes, the non-profit Long Term & Continuing Care Association of Manitoba said.
Saturday, a woman in her 80s who lived at the Parkview Place Long Term Care Home died in connection to the outbreak at the home, the province said — the third resident of the 277-bed care home to die since Sept. 22.
“It’s tragic and very sad — my heart goes out to the families and of course the staff too, who develop very strong relationships with the residents,” said the association’s executive director, Jan Legeros, of the recent deaths in Winnipeg care homes.
“COVID has taught us a very dire lesson that it’s just not enough — we need more staff to help with all of the tasks related to infection prevention and control and our calls to government have gone unanswered, unfortunately.”
Revera Inc., which operates seven personal care homes in Manitoba, said in a statement Friday it is working with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority to implement pandemic protocols and “enhanced infection control practices” at Parkview Place.
The company noted its residents are screened twice daily for the novel coronavirus.
Legeros repeated a call for funding from the province — saying province-wide, long-term care homes are now spending an estimated $2 million monthly on pandemic protocols and staffing.
“When we implemented the single employer site, we had to employ a lot of agency hours to offset the shortages of staff from moving staff to one site only, so that incurred additional expenses as well,” she said.
Legeros noted the province’s Health Minister Cameron Friesen committed to reimbursing some pandemic-induced costs to long-term care operators at the end of August during a conference call, but that money has yet to begin flowing.
“But what we really need is, similar to what they’ve done in British Columbia and Ontario, where they’ve given the care homes additional funding for staffing and for supplies — all of those resources we simply don’t have,” she said.
Legeros also pointed to the numerous deaths in Canadian long-term care homes as evidence of a lack of care for elderly Canadians at large.
“We need to do a better job of looking after our seniors,” she said.
“There was a lot of talk of how things needed to change and we really needed to be in a better place if this should ever happen again, Gosh forbid — but all of that has seemed to have just gone away and the interest in seniors’ care has just dissipated to the point where instead of shining a light on seniors’ care, we’re just totally in the dark again.”