My mother resides in long-term care and putting her into long-term care was the worst day of my life, handing that over. But I had to have faith. And I did have faith. Then COVID-19 happened and Pandora’s Box has been opened to show time after time that it’s profits, not care, that is happening.Maureen McDermott, a protester whose mother is in River Glen Haven Nursing Home in Sutton, Ont.
Alberta LTC COVID Cases Dec 21, 2020
225 Affected Homes
5415 Total Cases
We cannot continue to deny that family #caregivers are essential to the healthcare workforce in this country. They contribute billions in unpaid care and countless hours.
Locking them out has not worked and it is bad policy that has resulted in harm. #EssentialCaregivers https://t.co/lc0QBroxza
— Julie Drury (@SolidFooting) January 2, 2021
The holidays have been difficult for many Calgarians, as public-health orders meant to curb the COVID-19 pandemic restrict gatherings outside one’s household.
But for those with family members living in continuing-care facilities devastated by outbreaks of the novel coronavirus, the Christmas season has been a nightmare.
Among the most severe active outbreaks in long-term care are at facilities operated by AgeCare, a Calgary-based company with 10 locations in Alberta.
At AgeCare Skypointe, the most severe active continuing-care outbreak in Calgary, 151 residents have tested positive for COVID-19, with 61 of those cases still considered active. Twenty-four residents died in the outbreak. A total of 109 staff also tested positive, bringing the facility’s number of infections to 260.
Meanwhile, at AgeCare Walden Heights, 94 residents have received positive COVID-19 tests, with 32 remaining active. Seventeen have died. As well, 61 staff were infected, bringing the total number of cases in the outbreak to 155. The most recent numbers were emailed to families of residents Friday.
Vancouver Coastal Health says it can’t give specifics about outbreak where 38 residents have died
Family members say they want more answers about how COVID-19 outbreaks were handled at the long-term care facilities hardest hit by the pandemic.
Bernadette Cheung’s grandmother Yuet Wan is one of 38 residents who died at Little Mountain Place since an outbreak was declared there on Nov. 22. According to the home’s most recent update to families, 98 out of 114 residents have tested positive for the virus.
“That’s 85 per cent infection rate and 33 per cent death rate, which is astounding,” said Bernadette Cheung. “I just don’t understand how they can say that they’ve been doing their best and still we’re seeing these numbers.”
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.”
CAREWATCH is Inspired by Carol Wodak founding member of CITIZEN WATCH
BACKGROUNDER: CITIZEN WATCH was created as a public service for the people of Alberta. It was the work of an ever-widening network of individuals from across the province, including families and friends of long term care and assisted or supportive living residents and those requiring long term care supports in their own homes. CITIZEN WATCH WEBSITE