OTTAWA -- The operator of one of Ottawa’s hardest hit long-term care homes during the COVID-19 pandemic is launching an “immediate investigation” into its policies, practices and culture at all facilities.

The Board of Directors and management of Sienna Senior Living announced a series of sweeping steps to investigate issues and look at ways to improve its delivery of care at long-term care homes and retirement homes across Ontario and British Columbia.

Sienna Senior Living announced six steps:

  1. Immediate Investigation:  Former Ontario Deputy Attorney General Paul Boniferro will conduct an immediate, company-wide review into the policies, practices and culture at Sienna. Sienna says any “red flags” will be identified and addressed.
  2. Additional health care expertise: Sienna is searching for a senior health and long-term care expert to act as senior advisor to the management and Board of Directors and to provide additional executive capacity to push forward with the new initiatives and address challenges.
  3. Frontline re-education: Sienna is introducing enhanced frontline education protocols focused on quality and safety to ensure all team members understand and provide the quality of care for residents. The re-education sessions will focus on personal protective equipment.
  4. Zero tolerance policy and sensitivity training: Sienna says it is reinforcing its “zero-tolerance policy" for inappropriate behaviour and conducting sensitivity training with frontline staff.
  5. Increase communications: Sienna says it’s increasing communications with residents and their families, including videoconference town hall meetings across its network of residences
  6. Accelerating staffing, recruiting and retention efforts: Sienna says “while hiring and recruiting has been a challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sienna is accelerating aggressive recruitment efforts.”

Sienna Senior Living operators Madonna Care Community on St. Joseph Boulevard in Orleans.  

A COVID-19 outbreak was declared at Madonna Care Community on April 6.  According to Ottawa Public Health, 98 residents and 61 staff members have tested positive for COVID-19 at the long-term care home. Forty-four residents and two staff members have died after testing positive for COVID-19.