Chapter 32 “was there any good from the COVIDs? : Finally long-term and senior care reform”
I did work at a long-term care facility in Quebec for a time while working through pre-medical university courses. My first few visits were shocking. So many older twisted, crippled and mentally lost residents. It is a real eye opener for those that take health for granted. Poor souls twisted and sick but many still with a sense of humour and a feisty spirit and they were all very well taken care of at least where I was working at.
This was not the case during COVID times. Why? Was the profit motive any different than it was before? Or was it because regulatory oversight had badly diminished? Being so ill these residents, most of whom were seniors, had comorbidities that COVID took advantage of.
In Canada it was a whistleblowing report issued by the Canadian Armed Forces who were called in to assist some long-term and senior care facilities in Ontario and Quebec where the mortality rate was through the roof. I read this report and being a physician, I am accustomed to death and disease but I cried after I read it. Quite frankly this was more murder and criminal negligence than an “accident”. I won’t repeat the vile and disgusting treatment and abuse suffered by these human beings that were detailed in these official reports.
And yes several Canadian provinces convened commissions to study these appalling conditions that were known since the 1970’s with politico promises to rectify the situation but political promises are sometimes not worth the paper they are written on. These commissions issued lengthy reports after the COVIDs departed and long-term and senior’s residences were nationalized in Canada and run according to strict medical protocols.
So many seniors had perished there were a smaller amount to care for. Most long-term care and senior’s facilities were litigated to smithereens and who wanted to risk of operating such facilities? So in effect most Canadian provincial governments had no choice but to nationalize.
Living conditions improved, medical protocols established and gone were the days of dinner consisting of a cold hot dog, mashed potatoes and salads made from decomposing vegetables.
It would have been easy to blame COVID for the high fatality rate at the long term-care and senior’s facilities but the commissions concluded it was the profit motive that lead to poorly managed facilities and a lack of any meaningful government regulation.
In the United States where “nationalization equals communism” a series of legislative reforms passed at the state level which revamped management requirements and increased regulatory oversights.
First world countries took a variety of measures to clean up these facilities including stringent regulatory oversight. So many had to die to goad governmental change.