‘All the families deserve better than that’: Winnipeg woman whose mom died at Maples care home

The scene outside Maples Personal Care Home on Nov. 8, 2020. Marek Tkach / Global News

A Winnipeg woman whose mother died at the beleaguered Maples Personal Care Home is expressing her frustration over the way the COVID-19 crisis has been handled at the long-term care residence.

Jean Giffen said she was originally told her mother had died of a heart attack — and was given few other details — but from speaking with other families of residents at the home, has learned that her mom was on a ward that had positive cases of the coronavirus.

Giffen told 680 CJOB she’s been reaching out to the care home and the company that owns it, Revera, but so far hasn’t received a satisfactory response.

“I’ve been waiting three weeks to hear from them,” she said.

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“I’ve gone to a couple of their town hall meetings, but that was just listening to them talk — the families weren’t really allowed to say anything.

“It’s like they’re avoiding us completely. It really makes it a lot more difficult.”

Giffen said her family initially chose the Maples home because of its convenient location and because it looked like a good facility, but her impression — based on the handling of this crisis — has gone completely downhill.

“I won’t say it was great — I’m not sure it is in any of the homes, especially after all this has happened.

“I believe the workers are great, and they work really hard, and they have to protect their jobs and they’re not paid well enough.

“I don’t think the management is there that they need to run these homes properly.”

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg woman calls for change after father dies at coronavirus-stricken personal care home'
Winnipeg woman calls for change after father dies at coronavirus-stricken personal care home

Giffen said COVID-19 meant she was limited to window visits and virtual visits with her mother during the pandemic, aside from a small window where outside visits were possible. Over that time, she said, she could see her mother’s health going downhill.

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“I’ve just lost complete trust with (Maples) and Revera. I know that those residents were neglected and were suffering and it’s just all really devastating, what happened.

“To find out anything, I’ve had to watch the news or talk to other families on a Facebook page.

“I think I deserve better than that. I think all the families deserve better than that.”

In an emailed statement to Global News Wednesday, a spokesperson for Revera says they’ve been reaching out to Giffen unsuccessfully for several days.

“I don’t even want to speak to them, they’re actually trying to call right now because they know I’m contacting the media and some different people but I’ve just lost complete trust with them,” Giffen said.

Giffen says she has been communication with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority this week and has a meeting setup for Thursday.

In a statement Tuesday, Revera’s chief medical officer said there have been 149 positive tests at the care home, with seven active COVID-19 cases.

Dr. Rhonda Collins said the company is doing what it can to keep families in the loop.

“We are updating residents, their families and the staff on the status of the outbreak and are
providing regular phone, email and automated voicemail message updates and conducting
virtual town halls,” the statement said.

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“We understand that this is a very stressful time for residents, their families and our staff, and we are doing everything we can to control the spread of COVID-19 in the home.”

The statement also expressed gratitude for the efforts of the Canadian Red Cross and the Winnipeg Health Authority in helping to maintain, sanitize and monitor the situation in the Maples home.

An incident in early November that saw seven residents die over the span of two days and the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) called into to help several COVID-19-positive patients was being looked at by Winnipeg police.

Homicide investigators were speaking with paramedics, officials at Maples and the families of patients.

Global News was told the assessment would determine if residents received adequate care or if there was a failure to provide the necessities of life.

On Tuesday, police said they had concluded their assessment of the care home and wouldn’t be pursuing any further investigation.



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