EDITORIAL: Long Term Seniors Care in Ontario…shameful!

Toronto Star writer, Moira Welsh, has written an excellent column (Toronto Star story) relative to Long Term Care residency. It is a column that should be read by all residents in Ontario as it could pertain to each of us at some point.

Welsh writes a story about Margaret Calver, the wife of a long-term care resident, Wayne Calver, and how she has been disregarded and banned from visitation by a Long Term Care Residency, Markhaven Home for Seniors, Markham, ON.

A sad story
Unquestionably a sad story. Margaret Calver’s intentions at pointing out the home’s questionable service may be debatable but she likely meant well. Bureaucratic red tape, institutional bureaucracy and systemic intransigence transformed the good she intended into a file labelled as “bothersome irritation and ignorable discomfort.”

Where’s the column going?
As happens to all these kinds of media publications, they hit the readers in the face for the moment and then they wane away into no-where land.

Undeniably a journalist’s job is not to lead a cause, muckrake an issue or antagonize the establishment. The intent must be to highlight an issue, bring a problem out into the public’s eye, and draw attention to a problem that needs addressing.

Welsh has done that. Unfortunately, she picks at a scab.

Do these names ring any bells? Fullerton? Phillips? Calandra?

Merrilee Fullerton…what a disappointing and absolutely useless minister when she managed the Long-Term-Care Portfolio. Just Google the number of deaths in Long-Term-Care homes under her watch.

Rod Philips…oh please. A minister in the provincial government with the ethical principles of a toad. He’s the minister who sent photoshopped pix of himself by a fireplace in the dead of winter while in reality, he was on a St. Bart’s beach in the Caribbean. Not only did illustrious Premier Ford not can the man, but he also moved him into a new cabinet office… Long-Term-Care. Assigning the likes of a fox to guard the henhouse.

Paul Callandra…the new minister for Long-Term-Care. Pray your Long-Term-Care days are way, way off. We don’t really know much about this man, but based on passed provincial government performance, Ford appointees are all questionable.

So what?
The column Welsh wrote describes the sad tale of how Margaret Calver was banned from visiting her dementia-stricken husband in Markhaven Home for Seniors. The executives of the home claimed Margaret was rude, critical and abusive of the home’s staff in their work.

Before we expand on the above thought, those of you who have been in such homes know that there are always areas of criticism and censuring relating to the care seniors receive in long-term care. There are far too many horror stories of abuse and maltreatment to dismiss Margaret Calver’s story or Moira Welsh’s column too readily. Our experience comes from two family members in long-term care in two different homes. The only way abuse and maltreatment were eliminated or at least decreased was by frequent and regular personal visitations with many questions put to staff about the care being given.

Welsh writes a balanced story
Welsh’s column highlights both sides of the story. But the Margaret Calver side draws the greater criticism. Long-term care should not have that side of a story. Read the “feces smelling” anecdote and ask yourself if Calver is being abusive in querying the service.

Great column, so what?
Moira Welsh writes a great column exposing the questionable work done at one particular long-term-care home in Ontario. Imagine the possible extent and pervasiveness of such care throughout the province, particularly when you have cabinet ministers like Fullerton and Philips. So what? Yes, that is the question put before you. What do you care? What do you feel about this? What do you think should happen? What role should you take in this woeful tale? Moira Welsh has done her part. She exposed the problem. Now what are you going to do?

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