Ontario nursing home report shows ‘heartbreaking,’ ‘horrific’ abuse of elderly, vulnerable
ONTARIO, May 28, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — A Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) report alleging serious health and safety issues regarding the care of the elderly in five Ontario nursing homes casts a stark light on how society “dehumanizes” people, says the head of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition.
The Ontario provincial government publicly released a report by the 4th Canadian Division Joint Task Force to the public on Tuesday regarding the five Ontario long-term care homes.
The detailed report brought to light the alleged deplorable living conditions in the Ontario homes, including malnourished and neglected residents, insect infestations, spoiled food, and a lack of proper safety precautions.
In April, CAF personnel were brought in to help manage some of the worst affected long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec because of the coronavirus. This came after the federal government approved a request from their provincial governments for help.
The military report alleges how some residents were left in soiled diapers for extended periods. Others were left crying for help with no answer from “30 minutes up to two hours.” Some residents “were fed and hydrated forcefully, leading to audible choking or aspiration.”
In a press conference Tuesday, premier of Ontario Doug Ford said he was “shocked” by the findings, adding that his government will launch an investigation. He also asked the CAF to extend their mission for another 30 days.
“The reports they provided us were heartbreaking, they were horrific, it’s shocking that this can happen here in Canada. It’s gut-wrenching,” said Ford.
“Reading those reports was the hardest thing I’ve done as premier, knowing that so much more needs to be done … so please pray for these residents, please pray for their families.”
Pro-life Conservative Party of Canada leadership candidate Dr. Leslyn Lewis voiced her “disgust” regarding the Ontario long-term care homes. In a statement posted on her web page yesterday, she said that if elected leader, she would stop the expansion of “new categories for Medically Assisted Death.”
“Once death is a viable option for ‘care’, should we be that surprised that the standard of care has fallen so far?” wrote Lewis. “As Canadians, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. Our parents and grandparents built this great nation and we owe it to them to treasure them, to show them the respect they deserve.”
“I vow to lead a wholesale change in the culture towards the elderly, and the sick. I will stop the expansion of new categories for Medically Assisted Death.”
Alex Schadenberg, executive director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition said in a blog post about the report Wednesday that it shows how Canada needs a culture that treats the elderly and infirm with the respect and dignity they deserve.
“We need a caring culture. A culture that does not institutionalize elderly, infirm or people with disabilities, but rather creates compassionate community care,” said Schadenberg.
“The horrific incidents outlined in the report are based on an attitude of disrespect and a culture that dehumanizes people who need care. Many of the victims are viewed by society as less than human because they have cognitive issues.”
Schadenberg came to three conclusions because of the “dehumanizing” and “heartbreaking” conditions alleged in the military report.
“Doctors and nurse practitioners, who kill people by euthanasia make decisions based on societal attitudes towards living with physical and psychological needs,” said Schadenberg.
In his second conclusion, Schadenberg said the concept “of ‘freedom of choice’ does not apply to conditions and attitudes that lead someone to believe that people living with certain conditions are better off dead.”
“Subtle and overt social pressures creates a cultural shift from a ‘choice to die’ to an expectation to die,” he added.
Lastly, Schadenberg said, “Some people have asked to die by euthanasia to avoid living in a nursing home. This report may lead to a ‘clean-up’ of nursing, it will also lead to more euthanasia deaths.”
The Ontario government announced Wednesday that it will take over the management of the five care homes detailed in the military report. Four out of the five are privately owned.
A public inquiry was held between 2017 and 2018, which looked into the security and safety standards of Ontario’s long-term care homes. The report found many instances of “vulnerabilities.”
In February, the Ontario minister of long-term care, Dr. Merrilee Fullerton, said the Ontario government was “taking action” on the recommendations that came about from the public inquiry.
In his homily as the celebrant for the National Mass for Life on May 14, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa condemned euthanasia and assisted suicide as a “solution.” He said euthanasia and assisted suicide will lead to a different kind of “infection” in Canada of the continued devaluation of human life.
Schadenberg also warned on day three of the 2020 Virtual March for Life that Canada is on track to become “worst” assisted suicide jurisdiction in the world.
Bill C-7 came about as Trudeau’s acceptance to a Quebec court decision last September. That ruling struck down the requirement that a person’s “natural death be reasonably foreseeable” to qualify for death by lethal injection.
According to Ontario government figures, there are 626 long-term care homes in Ontario, and 150 of them are “experiencing an outbreak.”
The coronavirus death toll in Ontario, with a population of about 14.5 million, stands at 2,155. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Long-Term Care, 1,587 deaths have been reported in long-term care and retirement homes across the province.