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Family speaks out about alleged neglect at N.S. long-term care facility

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A resident at the Grand View Manor in Berwick, N.S., fell and broke her hip in the bathroom in December. Her family says they were never notified, and only found out through a family friend with ties to the facility 11 days later – Jan 2, 2021

Carolyn Ogilvie, who has been a resident at the Grand View Manor in Berwick, N.S., since 2018, fell and broke her hip in the bathroom on Dec. 19.

While she was transported to hospital, it was determined she didn’t qualify for surgery, so she was sent back to the long-term care facility. Her family says they were never notified and only found out through a family friend with ties to the facility 11 days later.

Ogilvie’s daughter, Jennie Ogilvie, who lives in Calgary, said as soon as the family found out about the incident, they arranged visits. Her cousin, Michelle Ogilvie, who lives in Auburn, first visited Carolyn on Dec. 30.

But she says that first visit was an eye opener.

“It was inhumane,” said Michelle. “Her hair was dirty, it was long, you could tell she’s laid on one side for god knows how long.”

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Michelle says that her aunt also has false teeth, but she wasn’t wearing them at that time.

“I managed to find her false teeth in a drawer — they were dirty, who knows the last time they were cleaned?” she said.

In addition, she says her aunt’s nails were overgrown and chipped, and her diaper was full.

“This is a woman who always took care of herself, dressed to the nines,” she said.

Through a Facetime call with Michelle, Jennie was also able to check in with her mother and says she was disappointed with the lack of care around her broken hip.

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“If you walked into her room, you wouldn’t know her hip was broken. There’s nothing that is stabilizing her whatsoever,” said Jennie.

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The two women say they were also disappointed in the state of the room itself. They claim a toothbrush was on the floor, a power cord was hanging from an outlet with multiple cords attached creating a potential hazard, and family pictures were hidden away in a box while pictures of someone else’s family were hung around the room.

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Jennie says since that day, they’ve been making sure family has been visiting everyday, and things have improved, but she says communicating with the long-term care facility has been a challenge.

She also says that while she’s lucky there’s family close by to visit her mother, she knows that’s not the case for everyone.

“I believe that regardless of your personal relationship with a loved one, everyone deserves dignity and they deserve a certain amount of care.”

Jennie and Michelle says they’ve chosen to speak up because they say senior neglect and abuse is a real issue and people need to talk about it more so it’s not hidden away.

“Just knowing this, you wonder, how many other cases are there?”

The issue of care in long-term care facilities has long been a concern in the province. For years, the Nova Scotia Nurses Union has called on more resources in order to adequately care for seniors in these facilities.

According to the union, on average residents in long-term care facilities only receive about 3.45 hours of care throughout a 24 hour period. A recommendation from a 2016 study calls for at least 4.1 hours.

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Global News reached out to the Grand View Manor by phone and email about the allegations but did not hear back by the time of publishing.

In a statement from the Department of Health and Wellness, which oversees long-term care, says that “the safety of Nova Scotians in long term care is a top priority of government. There is zero tolerance for abuse of any kind.”

The department also notes that under the Protection for Person’s in Care Act, anyone can report abuse, including physical, psychological, emotional, sexual, neglect, theft or medical abuse. Report abuse by calling: 1-800-225-7225. There is more information on the Act at https://novascotia.ca/dhw/ppcact/ .”

Jennie says she plans to reach out to the department.

“I’m really looking for more answers once the holidays are over and everyone’s back to work,” she said.

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