Long-term care subject of human rights complaint
John Vice says he is determined to improve the care seniors get in the province.
“I want to finish what I started,” says the Kitchener man, who first raised concern in 2018 about the care his mother-in-law was getting at Park Lane Terrace in Paris and now has filed a complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
“The entire premise of unethical nursing home operators is this: once a loved one dies, people generally move on and that enables the home to continue. I feel it’s my moral and civic duty to defend those who cannot defend themselves.”
Vice’s mother-in-law was moved out of Park Lane in June.
His complaint to the tribunal alleges discrimination against his mother-in-law based on age and disability and accuses the province of not enforcing its own laws about care at Park Lane Terrace. He announced that complaint during a news conference this week at Queen’s Park.
The Ministry of Long-Term Care said it could not comment about Vice’s complaint while the matter is before the tribunal.
But spokesperson Lidia Piccolo said the government is committed to protecting residents of long-term care homes and enhancing their quality of life. She said the ministry responds to reports of serious harm to residents with inspections, follow-up visits and immediate action, and publicly reports on all of it.
Mary Raithby, CEO of APANS, which manages Park Lane, declined to comment about the human rights tribunal complaint, saying she has no information about it.
Over the past year, the home has been criticized by residents and their family members and employees.
In 2019, the ministry produced 11 reports about Park Lane that document problems with care, food and the facility.
In total, the ministry wrote up Park Lane for 100 infractions last year and issued 24 orders to comply with legislation.
Also issued were two rare “director referrals,” which means the provincial director of long-term care inspections meets with the licensee to decide on next steps.
In comparison, the John Noble Home, the municipal home for the aged in Brantford, last year had two reports issued by the government and incurred 13 written notices of infractions and had one compliance order issued.
Vice says the ministry’s actions are insufficient.
During the two years his mother-in-law was at Park Lane, Vice and his wife noticed problems that were reflected in the ministry reports.
“Probably the singular most upsetting things was when my wife went to visit at a non-standard time and found her mother confined to her wheelchair and soaking in her own urine. Things were overflowing, indicating that she had been in that state for many hours.”
Vice said his wife had to “negotiate” to ensure his mother-in-law got a proper bath and that, once, his mother-in-law was injected with botox without her permission or any family consent.
With his tribunal complaint accepted in December, Vice is now waiting for a response from the government. The Solicitor General is expected to respond in February.
Vice said the government has the power to solve problems at a long-term care home with something called a mandatory management order.
“The existing management team would be relieved of their duties and a third-party team would be brought in to remediate the problems, with the costs being paid by the owner of the facility,” said Vice.
“It would be a win for the patients who currently have a sub-standard home, a win for the government because there were be no tax dollars spent and, ultimately, a win for the home because the third-party could correct what they cannot manage.”
Since moving his mother-in-law to a new home, Vice said all of his concerns about her health have been addressed.
He and another member of a group they are calling Seniors Guardian Angels will be meeting later this month with the London-Fanshawe MPP Teresa Armstrong, who is the NDP critic for home and long-term care issues.
“We need more than platitudes,” said Vice.